Several Hollywood movie stars are expected to visit the Middle East on a private peace mission, in the belief that their stardom will do wonders on the ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict.
Brad Pitt, his beautiful wife, Jennifer Aniston, and Danny DeVito are among the stars who are due to visit the region by the end of the year.
"The past few years of conflict mean that yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians will grow up in hatred," a statement from Pitt and Aniston said. "We cannot allow that to happen."
Precisely how they intend to stop it is not entirely clear.
Pitt and Aniston believe that most people in the region want a negotiated settlement with an end to violence, and imagine that by appealing directly to "ordinary folk", they can bring the warring sides together.
The stars are among a group of actors, directors and writers who have signed up to the peace initiative called One Voice, launched by Daniel Lubetzky, an American-Jewish businessman from Mexican origin.
They were persuaded to support the cause after Rhea Perlmann, who starred in Cheers and is married to DeVito, hosted a reception for Lubetzky at their home in Los Angeles.
Other Hollywood celebrities backing the project include Pitt's co-star in Fight Club, Edward Norton, and Jason Alexander, a star of Seinfeld and Pretty Woman.
Lubetzky plans to distribute computer terminals to community centers, schools and offices in both Israeli and Palestinian areas for use in an informal "referendum".
The actors will call on people to make their views known on the important points that have thwarted peace negotiations, including the future of Jerusalem, national borders, the status of Palestinian refugees and access to disputed water supplies.
For his part, Mohammed Darawse, the Palestinian regional co-ordinator of the project, is convinced that they can make a difference. "They asked intelligent questions when we met them and they clearly know the big picture," he said. (Albawaba.com)
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