Hello, this is Y from the Palestine Peace Solidarity, a group based in Seoul, Korea which promotes peace and security for the people of Palestine.
On 24th of August, we had two very special guests from the Parent’s Circle, a network composed of families that have lost one or more of their family members due to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and thus promotes a halt to the occupation by employing peaceful means.
One of the guests was Aaron from Israel, who introduced himself as a Zionist who lost his son who was serving his last week as occupation force in Lebanon. Aaron said that although his son opposed the occupation, his son thought it was his duty to serve his country. However, after burying his son, Aaron went on to oppose the occupation by means of picketting in front of the Israeli defence ministry along with other bereaved family members. This was the time that he realized that the bereaved ones receive respect and thus have the power to influence and make changes: Isreal withdrew from Lebanon shortly after that.
Ali from Palestine also began telling his story;his mother used to serve a leading role in the PLO and so had got into resistance movements from very young age. This had brought him into jail, along with his mother and other siblings, leaving only his father and his two little sisters at home. He told us that he and his collegues’ fasting for 17 days in prison led to the release of 5,000 of the prisoners that were so called ‘political criminals’ shortly after the Oslo Treaty was signed. While he said that this was the first time that he ever realized that nonviolent movements can bring about change, he mentioned that 280 ‘extremists’ including himself were relocated and thus could not go home which made him think that any kind of peace treaty is of no use when it cannot let him go home, cannot give him the peace of mind.
He went on telling that not long after that, his older brother, his ‘everything’ was killed by the occupying Israeli troops. He said he felt so many different feelings including rage or want for revenge back then, while deep down, he knew that revenge could not change anything.
This was when the Parent’s Circle came over to his mourning house and shared tears and pain with them – a time when Ali had seen Israli tears for the first time. So the both of them had intepreted their losses as the Israeli occupation undermining people’s peace and security, thus having to oppose it through peaceful means. They kept emphasizing peace and harmony, when Camilo from another peace activist NGO asked Aaron whether he thought the Israeli govt should first stop building additional settlements and free political prisoners before talking about peace or harmony, Aaron replied that since most, if not all, of the turmoil in the region owes itself to occupation, calls to end the occupation would naturally solve other problems when the occupation is stopped (on which many of our group could not agreeon entirely..)
When asked another question regarding the politcal issues such as 1,2,or 3 state solution/the Q of Jerusalem/refugees, Aaron said that most/all of the political matters had been already settled apon in so many different treaties and negociations, just that they are not being implemented. He went on by saying that altho he himself and most of his fellows believe that the 2 state solution would be the best answer, the Parents’ Circle as a whole does not bear any political stance in particularand that their role is to peacefully advocate a strong will to end the occupationby which the various political answers can be implemented.
Personally, it was my first time talking for such a long time (abt 3 hrs) with Palestine/Isreali and it certainly was a view-widening experience, although it would have been better if we could hear more of Ali..