Jean Zaru, 61, is a Quaker whose passion for peace and justice is rooted in her family's close ties with the struggle for Palestinian independence. Her relatives fled their homes during the 1948 War, and her husband was almost killed when Ramallah was bombed during the Six-Day War in 1967. Zaru believes a brother who joined the Palestinian struggle and disappeared in Lebanon in 1976 is dead.

Zaru has spent much of her life addressing the Middle East crisis and the concerns of Palestinians. She is a founding member of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, and presiding clerk of the Ramallah Friends Meeting in Palestine, the regional Quaker denomination.

Zaru, who is traveling in the United States with two other women from Jerusalem, has spoken to groups throughout the world. The tour, called "Jerusalem Women Speak — Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared City," is sponsored by Partners for Peace, a United Nations-registered nongovernmental organization that educates people about the Middle East conflict. Organizing such speaking tours is one of the group's major projects.

While many Americans say they now "understand what Israelis go through" after the terrorist attacks of September 11, Zaru says Americans should also sympathize with Palestinians, who have been uprooted from their homes and face violence.

Zaru also criticizes reporters who fail to present what she considers a nuanced assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"They question the terror, but they do not speak of the political, economic, social, religious, and cultural factors, and so forth," she told CT before a Chicago speech. "We must bring peace by looking at the root cause of suffering. The root causes of violence need to be addressed." ...

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