For nearly 10 years, the Parents Circle has partnered with USAID to engage thousands of Israelis and Palestinians in the Parallel Narrative Experience — a several-month long module made up of unilateral and joint workshops and dialogue activities to recognize, learn about, and acknowledge the personal, national and historical narratives of the “other” and to support both sides in building trust, generating empathy, and humanizing the other.
Cuts to USAID funding is a direct threat to the important achievements of this program including:
- 33 groups of Israelis and Palestinians equipped with a deeper and richer understanding of the “other’s” narrative trained to give voice to this narrative in their societies.
- Largest groups of Palestinians ever to visit Yad Vashem
- More than 1,000 active alumni body dedicated to solidarity actions
- 84% stated they will be more active in activities supporting peace;
- 70% improved their level of trust and empathy of the other side
- 87% positive change in the perception of the other
- 60% show an increase in knowledge and legitimacy of the other’s narrative.
Robi Damelin, spokesperson and bereaved Israeli mother during her interview today said: “I think of USAID and how they’ve supported us over the years…without their assistance, I don’t think we would be near where we are today….This cutoff creates fear and violence.”
Mazen Faraj, co-Director and bereaved, Palestinian son said in an interview with YNET: “The meetings in which people can share their narratives, brings participants to understand that we are all victims of the same reality. And if we, who have paid the highest price to the conflict, and we have all the reason in the world to turn to revenge, anger and violence, can work together for a better future, so anyone can.