The under-reported ray of hope in the Palestine/Israel violent saga

08.07.2014 - Silvia Swinden

The under-reported ray of hope in the Palestine/Israel violent saga
(Image by Credit Pressenza)

The News could not be more discouraging:

“Israel has carried out deadly strikes on the Gaza Strip amidst continued violence following the killings of a Palestinian teenager and three teenage Israeli settlers. At least nine Hamas members were killed Sunday when the Israeli military bombed two parts of Gaza. It was Israel’s deadliest strike on Gaza since an eight-day assault in late 2012. Hamas has called the strikes a “grave escalation” and has threatened to retaliate. Palestinian rocket attacks have continued on southern parts of Israel, with 25 fired on Sunday. Israeli troops have massed along the Gaza border, threatening a potential full-scale attack.” Democracy Now!

But a report from the Jewish Daily Forwards paints a different picture, one that very few people will hear about:

“Families of Slain Israeli and Palestinian Teens Turn to Each Other for Comfort, Rachel Fraenkel Touches Hearts With Open Door Policy:

“The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other.

“Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat took to Facebook on Sunday to write about an “emotional and special telephone conversation between two families that have lost their sons.” He said that during his visit to the Fraenkel family home, he had a chance to speak to Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed’s father, and express pain at the “barbaric” murder of his son.

“Barkat then suggested that Abu Khdeir speak to Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of Naftali Fraenkel who recently told the press that “the life of an Arab is equally precious to that of a Jew. Blood is blood, and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab.” The two men took Barkat’s advice and comforted one another by telephone.”

The note also reports on a visit by Palestinians from Hebron to the Fraenkel family home where they were well received to offer their comforting words, and there is an initiative spearheaded by Jews and Muslims to transform July 15, the Jewish fast day known as 17 Tammuz, into a joint fast day for people of both religions who wish to express their desire to end violence in the region”, Read more

Several organisations of Israeli and Palestinian families bereaved by the conflict have been working for Peace and Reconciliation for many years, gaining very little press coverage. Instead, all the barrage of news coming from the region relate to the flair ups of the conflict and the atrocities committed by both sides, without any acknowledgment of the intense and thankless work being done by those who truly desire an end to the conflict without winners or losers, just people living side by side in peace.

Perhaps every time we hear, again, that the peace process is dead, that dialogue is not possible, or that there are too many vested interests in maintaining the conflict alive, we should take a Wikipedia tour through some of the courageous initiatives working their way towards a nonviolent future in the Middle East. Then, if we wander in which way we could contribute to such future, we’ll have clear and concrete points of contact to offer our help.





Categories: International, Middle East, Nonviolence, Peace and Disarmament
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