2016 – the summer of youth

At the beginning of August, 36 Palestinian and Israeli young people met for four days at Ness Amim in the north of Israel (above). They shared dialogue, sports, art workshops on the beach, music and theatre in order to learn about each other. Everyone rated the summer programme one of the best PCFF has had for years.

At the end of the month, a delegation of eight Israeli and Palestinian bereaved young adults, led by youth programme directors Dana Wegman and Muhammed al-Baw traveled to Koya, Japan where they met government officials and students to raise awareness of Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation. As well as official meetings, the young adults experienced Japanese culture, traditions and food (above).

PCFF continues to bring together Palestinian and Israeli adults to learn about each other’s personal and national narratives. Two groups went through the Parallel Narratives Experience in the summer: a group of educators and a group of influential women. The photo below shows the Influential Women Group visiting Yad Vashem.

Efrat Tal

Two bereaved brothers pursuing
the path of reconciliation

Revenge brings only more revenge, blood brings more blood
– Arab Aramin

If we who lost our loved ones can work together, anyone can
– Yigal Elhanan

Arab Aramin (on the left in the photo) was born in Jerusalem. He is 21. In 2007, his sister Abir was shot by an Israeli soldier outside her East Jerusalem school.

PC-FF member Arab says: ‘Abir was killed for no reason. Or maybe there was a reason. Abir was a Palestinian. After Abir got killed, I tried to avenge her death. I was throwing stones at soldiers who stood at the checkpoint outside my house. After a while my father discovered I was throwing stones. My father, a peace activist himself, told me that revenge brings only more revenge, blood brings more blood and that he is not ready to lose another child.’

Yigal Elhanan, an Israeli member of PC-FF, also lost a sister. He says: ‘In September 1997, my sister Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing as she shopped for school books with her classmates. My family joined the Bereaved Families Forum two years later and has been active ever since. The Forum’s goal is to begin the process of reconciliation. Our organisation’s existence is proof that if we, those who lost our most precious loved ones, can work together – anyone can.’

Watch Arab and Yigal speaking for themselves on YouTube