Reactions to the renewed violence in Gaza and Israel
The renewed outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas has been greeted with alarm around the world, and with calls for restraint from the United Nations. For the Palestinian and Israeli members of the Bereaved Families Forum, the fighting has reawakened painful memories of their own bereavement.
On 7th July the Israeli daily paper Yedioth Aharonoth published in its weekly 24 Hours section open letters from five bereaved mothers, all members of the Forum, to the newly bereaved Palestinian and Israeli mothers.
One Israeli mother, Tsurit Sarig, says: "This letter is written from the bottom of my heart, and from years of experience in the quagmire of bereavement, and is addressed to the bereaved mothers whose agony has joined the long list of their predecessors.
"The acts of hatred, incitement and above all the two horrible murders of the four youths, brought back great sadness as well as feelings of anger and confusion, which we first felt after my eldest son was killed. I am with you in your feelings of grief and shock."
A Palestinian mother, Hanan Lubadeh from Nablus, whose 15-year-old son was killed in 1989, writes: "I've known Israeli bereaved mothers for many years. The mothers' pain is similar, no matter if they are Israeli or Palestinian. It does not matter whether she is from Nablus, Shoafat, Rosh Pinah or Nof Ayalon. The pain is seared into us and will be with us forever."
And Forum spokesperson Robi Damelin writes: "We understand that the pain of a mother losing a child is the same no matter where she comes from, what colour her skin is and to whom she prays at night. The tears falling on the pillow are the same colour. We cannot allow the violence to continue. Let us raise our voices together to stop this senseless killing. Stop the violence. Stop the horrific rhetoric. No one has the right to use our beloved children as pawns in a battle that can never be won."
PCFF started holding a daily vigil for peace from 6.30 to 10pm every evening in the courtyard of the Tel-Aviv Cinematheque (see photo above: the banners say "It won't stop until we talk"). The Peace Square will host activities that aim to promote peace and reconciliation between the two nations.
The PCFF Facebook page "Crack in the Wall" is active in communicating members' quotes and calls for the ending of violence and for the search for peace and reconciliation to be resumed.