Early Friday morning, buses left from all over Israel and Palestine and some 200 women came to be together and discover the humanity in the other in honor of International Women’s Day. It was thrilling to arrive and see how many new faces, friends of the bereaved members chose to spend the day together. This was such an opportunity for the Parents Circle to share our message with those who had never heard it.
This year we marked international Women’s Day in the West Bank so that Palestinian women from Jenin, Nablus, Beit Omar, Deheisha Refugee Camp and many other villages would be able to attend without having to ask for permits. After all, freedom of movement is a basic human right.
“The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony comes to remind us that war is not inevitable”
On April 30, 2017, thousands of Israelis and Palestinians will come together to remember the shared pain experienced on both sides of the conflict. The Israeli-Palestinian Alternative Memorial Day Ceremony, which has been held following Israeli Memorial Day for the past twelve years, comes to remind us that war is not an act of fate but one of human choice.
This powerful ceremony will be streamed online live from Tel Aviv, and we are inviting you to participate:
Invite your community and constituents to a selected venue on Sunday, April 30 to watch the livestreaming of the Israeli-Palestinian Alternative Memorial Day Ceremony. English subtitles will be available.
Last month, two Parents Circle’s members– bereaved mother, Robi Damelin, and bereaved son, Mazen Faraj– visited the US to share their stories of loss and reconciliation. Here are some of the highlights from their speaking tour:
A Conversation With Peacemakers and Silent Walk
In North Carolina, Robi Damelin and Mazen Faraj spoke together at events at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University, sharing their individual stories of loss and their shared vision of a way toward peace.
Following the events on both campuses, Robi, Mazen, and students held silent walks for peace. Students and speakers alike, wearing patches from our Taking Steps project, marched in silence to show solidarity with bereaved Israelis and Palestinians.
Silent Walk for peace at Duke University, February 21, 2017
J Street 2017 National Conference
We were honored to attend and speak at this year’s J Street National Conference. This incredible conference brings together speakers and social justice activists from around the world to discuss the way toward a two-state solution.
Robi and Mazen were joined by bereaved brother, Elik Elhanan, for their speaking session on Sunday, February 26, where they discussed their uncommon path of forgiveness in the face of loss, and how their work humanizes the conflict.
An Israeli-Palestinian movement of mothers who have lost sons to the conflict is connecting with American mothers whose sons have been killed to form a united front against gun violence.
Israeli Robi Damelin founded Parents Circle Families Forum, an organization for bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families, after a Palestinian sniper killer her son David. She was angry, but she’s trying to channel that energy to do good.
“Right now is the most important time to use your voice for change,” she said. “You have to talk to people you don’t like or agree with; if not, they only become more radical.”
Damelin brings together other mothers who have lost sons to gun violence and hate.