With a seemingly non-stop flow of bleak news coming out of Gaza and Israel, it’s all too common to view the latest flareup in this regional conflict as a black-and-white battle between two extreme and intractable ideologies.
In this atmosphere, moderate voices are often muted by the cacophony of violence and despair. The stories below, however, remind us that there are, in fact, plenty of voices on all sides calling for mutual understanding. Not all Palestinians and Israelis — nor all Muslims and Jews — agree with the destructive actions perpetuated in their name. And when the most natural thing might seem to be to take your place on one side of the battle lines, there are still those trying to meet in the middle in hopes of finding empathy and maybe even peace in the most unlikely of places.
Tag Meir, a coalition of 40 organizations that promotes “Jewish-Arab coexistence and peace-building,” arranged for over 350 Israelis to pay their respects to the family of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teen who was murdered in what is suspected to have been a revenge attack for the abduction and killing of three Israeli students.
Rabbi Ron Kronish, a leader of the peace initiative, explained the motivation behind the act of solidarity: “We went to pay a condolence visit to this Palestinian family whose son was brutally murdered as an act of religious obligation and humanistic solidarity. Our visit was warmly received by our Palestinian neighbors who were visibly moved by our empathetic act of good will.”
Israeli And Palestinian Parents Are United By The Indiscriminate Pain Of Losing A Loved One
Two members of The Parents Circle, an organization of over 600 Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost a close family member in the conflict, joined Michel Martin on NPR to discuss the current crisis.
Robi Damelin, whose son was shot by a Palestinian sniper, and Bassam Aramin, whose daughter was killed by Israeli border police, stressed the importance of forgiveness and understanding the context behind the violence. Damelin said: “If I can travel with Bassam all over the world and talk in the same voice, surely that should be some kind of example. We cannot share this land just with graves.”
Photos: Tag Meir/ Sheila Shalhevet