The Mideast was new territory for Mary-Lou Leiser Smith before her first trip to the Holy Land. Now, it’s the center of her heart’s work. These days, Smith is preparing for a conference in November at UNC-Chapel Hill — one focus will be the role of U.S. aid in the conflict. On Saturday, she was part of an enthusiastic group at Raleigh-Durham International Airport greeting peace activist Brian Avery on his return to the United States. Ann S. Kim of The News and Observer reports.