"It's just so complicated..." is a phrase I have noticed many people finish with following a tirade on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. While that is true, it is -- thankfully -- not where the conversation has to end. If one is brave, it is from this complicated place one must launch in order to move beyond the confines of complication which shelters (and restricts) one's life in safe apathy, a.k.a. "the status quo", into a new space where one engages with the issues and individuals which make reality so complicated. This new space is in fact a new way of being, one driven by love than arrested by fear. This new way of being is also complicated and challenging. There is nothing easy about trying to build relationships within a people group which has caused your own to suffer. It is not comfortable to commit to ongoing dialogue, process through pain, or face fears. Yet, within this new way of being genuine relationships can be kindled, healing can happen, and fullness of life is found.
It is this path of being Marian, a Palestinian, and Yigal, a Jewish Israeli, along with their families, have chosen to take. Following the most grievous of tragedies, the stolen life of their loved one, when it seemed the deepest, most immovable wedge had been driven between each of them and "the other", a miracle began to take shape. Feebly and precariously they have taken steps to heal, forgive, reconcile, even endeavor to create relationships with the ones who caused their deepest grief. Marvelously, these seemingly impossible realities are now becoming part of their own reality. They are still in process and likely will always be, with steps forward and setbacks, yet, they remain committed to engagement with each other and the organization which helped their journey of healing, wholeness, and unity begin, Parent Circle - Families Forum.
These are their stories.
Yigal: "The second you are born you are part of the conflict without even being asked."
Marian: “...I don't know when I will be the next one to be shot again. Because it happens at times that you're not the one to be there. Just like all of us in the Parent's Circle, we were not supposed to be there. We were not fighting for that [the conflict]. We were not supposed to be in that spot and we were not supposed to carry this burden of pain that no one else should carry.”
What Parent Circle-Families Forum is aiming to do:
Ways they are trying to help change the situation by healing internal wounds and empowering healthy livelihoods. Lastly, some words for us.
There are many great organizations endeavoring to bring together Palestinians and Jewish Israelis to help foster relationships and prevent violence due to lack of knowing one another. Learn more about them here and how you can get involved!
Kids4Peace is an amazing organization that brings together Jewish Israeli, Palestinian, and American youth together. Learn how you or your children can get involved in one of their chapters around the country! Also learn more about the Jerusalem branch, Kids4Peace Jerusalem.
Learn about Combatants for Peace, like Parent's Circle, it brings together Palestinians and Jewish Israelis and also does other impactful hands-on work to end divisions incited by the occupation such as this petition to stop the building of a new settlement threatening the two-state solution. http://cfpeace.org/projects/e2/
The problems facing our human family are very grave and we are no longer isolated from one another. We are confronted daily with our addiction to violence, our hatred and our greed. We are heartbroken. The media are relentless in their presentation and critique and we all long for some good news. We ask for the gift of hope in our lives and know that we need to turn to one another for the confidence and assurance that we will emerge from situations, that, in the short term seem hopeless. Banish fear and anxiety from our hearts.
May we unite in affirming one another and remove the barriers that seem to sour our relationships and keep us at a distance. Heal the short tempers, the crabbiness and the grudges we hold, against one another, against our political system, against our religious groups, and against our financial institutions. Prompt us to be beacons in the present darkness, and especially beacons to one another. We need help to stop contributing to the larger greed that tears at our world. We believe in the power of grace to change our lives and desire to be once again open to that grace. May we be blessed with a peaceful spirit and a desire to be reconciled with one another.
Interested in partnering with the work of "Through The Checkpoint"? Wonderful! You can do so here: https://creativevisions.networkforgood.com/projects/16418-creative-visions-fiscal-sponsorship-through-the-checkpoint