Politicians and faith leaders turn out
in support of peace and reconciliation

Politicians and faith leaders gathered at Westminster on 19th June for a reception in support of the Israelis and Palestinians who are working together for peace and reconciliation.

The event was held in the sumptuous surroundings of the Speaker’s House by kind permission of the Speaker, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP and hosted by Huw Irranca-Davies MP, one of FBFF’s Patrons.

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Israeli Robi Damelin (right in picture), whose son was killed by a sniper and Palestinian Siham Abu Awwad (left), whose brother was killed by an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint, spoke movingly of their determination to disseminate their messages of peace and reconciliation, despite the challenging political climate in the Middle East.

‘We have to include everyone in the peace process otherwise it won’t work,’ said Siham.

‘We have to recognise the importance of reconciliation as part of any future peace process,’ said Robi. ‘Otherwise any peace deal will only be a ceasefire.’

To read The Guardian’s reflections on the Westminster reception:
click here.

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‘Could you hurt someone who has your
blood running through his veins?’


This is the stark question posed by ‘Blood Relations’, a project designed to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to take the symbolic act of donating blood to each other.

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Blood Relations arose from a competition launched last year by advertising agency Bauman Ber Rivnay – ‘The Impossible Brief’. This was an open invitation to all creative thinkers to come up with innovative solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. People all over the world, including citizens from both sides, were invited to propose a solution to the decades-old conflict.

The proposals were reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of Palestinians and Israelis and the global Saatchi and Saatchi network. The most inspiring concepts were published as a book and sent to leaders around the world. From the hundreds of suggestions submitted, one idea was selected and brought to life: the Blood Relations project, proposed by Jean-Christophe Royer from France.

See entries in the
Impossible Brief competition here. Watch the Blood Relations film here.

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Gaza violence ‘makes need for peace more urgent than ever’

Parents Circle-Families Forum members Mazen Faraj and Robi Damelin paid a successful week-long visit to the UK in November.

They spoke at meetings in London and Durham, at several screenings of Two-Sided Story and at the UK premiere of a new documentary featuring Robi Damelin called One Day After Peace. It traces the personal journey of South African-born Robi, and looks at whether the post-Apartheid peace and reconciliation process in South Africa might be relevant in the Israel/Palestine situation.

The UK visit coincided with the outbreak of renewed violence in Gaza which cast a cloud of gloom over all the week’s events. On the other hand, the deluge of publicity about the Middle East not only guaranteed packed audiences but provoked a very sympathetic reaction to Robi and Mazen’s account of PCFF’s campaign for peace and reconciliation. It also generated a lot of positive
media coverage.

Diane Taylor, FBFF Manager, said: ‘As yet more families are dealing with bereavement after the Gaza violence, Robi and Mazen's message about the urgent need for peace and reconciliation was especially relevant and poignant.’

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Above: Robi and Mazen answering questions from the audience after a showing of Two-Sided Story at Regent’s College, London; and (below) at the premiere of One Day After Peace at the UK Jewish Film Festival.

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UK premiere of new Israeli/Palestinian film, Two-Sided Story

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The historic Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley was the venue for the UK premiere in June of this remarkable new film from the Parents Circle-Families Forum which documents the reactions when Israelis and Palestinians meet, talk and get to know each other as human beings.

It shows what happens when hardline Israeli settlers meet Palestinian activists resisting the Israeli occupation, when Israeli soldiers meet Palestinians who have served time in Israeli jails.

The 80-minute documentary was followed by a question and answer session with Forum members Robi Damelin and Siham Abu Awwad.
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