What is often lost in the face of conflict is the shared humanity between people. Below are the profiles of two women building peace at the grassroots level between Israelis and Palestinians, two groups of people divided by barriers that too frequently obstruct any hope for peace and friendship.
‘From the Side of the Victim’: Recognizing the Human Beings on the Other Side
Leah Green, founder and executive director of the Compassionate Listening Project, which aims to foster genuine dialogue and healing between Israelis and Palestinians through “non-judgmental listening,” recalls her own path toward reconciliation with Germans as a Jewish woman whose family was deeply impacted by the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. She illuminates the power to be had as the victim and demonstrates through her own life story how that power can transform into creating space for others’ healing to take root.
“Victims and perpetrators are bonded very, very deeply by this kind of karmic experience. You’re related to each other.”
-Leah Green, Compassionate Listening Project
‘Needing Hope’: Encouraging Women to Come to the Table
Robi Damelin is a prominent peace and reconciliation campaigner for the Parents Circle Families Forum, a joint group of Israeli and Palestinian families grieving the losses of their loved ones and coming together for peace. Robi lost her son at the hands of a Palestinian sniper during the Second Intifada, but responded to the situation through compassion and hope for a better world. Here she discusses the role of women in Israeli-Palestinian healing and the work that must be done in order to provide women with a sense of self-esteem for them to come to the table for peace.
“There just aren’t any women at the table, or very few, and I think this is what’s missing in many ways. And we need as much as possible to encourage women.”
-Robi Damelin, Parents Circle Families Forum
Written and Created by: Brandon Desiderio