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Palestinian and Israeli Parents share Grief and Hope

A VISIT TO GAZA

Dozens of Israeli and Palestinian families whose children and relatives have fallen in the conflict met in Gaza on October 17.  The meeting was sponsored by the "Bereaved Parents' Circle" established by Yitzhak Frankenthal whose son, Arik, was abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists.

Meetings between families who have experienced the pain and suffering, but have nevertheless transcended hate and animosity, give room for hope that it will, eventually, be possible to live in peace side by side in mutual respect and without hostility. The loss of a close family member is sobering for families on both sides of the border. Many ask: "Until when? Does the price justify the means? Have we done enough to change things?"

One of the participating parents said: "We have paid the highest possible price, we want to prevent others from experiencing the same pain."

Yehuda Waxman whose son, Nahshon, was abducted and murdered by terrorists,  met Ahmad Jadla, brother of Jadla Jadla, who murdered his son. Ahmad and Yehuda share the view that terror will lead nowhere and that the establishment of peace is the only realistic option in the prevailing situation. The message sent to extremists during the meeting was loud and clear: "Terror will not win. This is not the way."

In the short tour of Gaza, suffering, poverty and deprivation were visible everywhere - but no hatred. As a Palestinian mother noted "We do not hate you, we hate what you have done to us". Would any other normal human being have felt otherwise? General Nasser Youssouf hosted the group in the former notorious Administration Building, now the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. He expressed his deep commitment to the peace process.

The call for peace came from the grassroots; no politicians took part in the meeting. These kinds of meetings are intended to  help change public opinion and spread the call to support peace between the two nations. The emotion felt at the meeting between the families, the emphasis on mutuality, the understanding between mothers and fathers on both sides of the border and the deep yearning for peace and friendship must be conveyed to Israelis and Palestinians.

Middle East Gateway