International Day of Peace
Eight hundred people arrived on Saturday, September 20th, 2014, at the courtyard of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque to observe the International Day of Peace. This moving event marked seventy days in which the Bereaved Families Forum (PCFF) held vigil every evening, offering an opportunity for open dialogue to promote reconciliation and tolerance among peoples. Many of the participants in yesterday's events had attended the Peace Square during the past ten weeks, and many more came for the first time to engage in dialogue with over 100 Palestinians, most of whom are from bereaved families. Throughout the plaza were scattered six "circles of dialogue", each facilitated by Israeli and Palestinian PCFF members and translators. The "open mic" was passed to whomever wished to talk, and thoughts, ideas and feelings were shared.
In the closing ceremony, renowned actress Gila Almagor, chairwoman of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, told her own story of bereavement; Her father being killed by a Palestinian sniper in 1939, four months before she was born. "Daily, for the last seventy days, I've passed the Peace Square and witnessed the members of the Parents Circle sitting and talking while the fervor, xenophobia and hatred of neighbors was rampant. …Tonight I see one hundred Palestinians sitting and talking (in the heart of Tel Aviv) and no ranting. …I am seventy-five, I have seen eleven wars. Maybe its enough! "
Israeli PCFF Co-Director, Doubi Schwartz said: "In the early days of the last cycle of violence we called out boldly and strongly: We do not want more bereaved families –Israeli or Palestinian. … We call to the leaders of our nations, world leaders, and especially the Israeli and Palestinian people - Do not lose hope, we do not have that luxury. "
Mazen Faraj, Palestinian PCFF Co-Director: "All the Palestinian people dream about peace but when we started planning this event we were not at all convinced that after all the deaths in Gaza, the Palestinian members will want to observe the day. Yet 108 Palestinians came to declare their dream. …We decided unanimously not to be victims or hostages in the hands of politicians. We do not want a peace agreement -- we demand life; the life lost and the life which we dream."
Two bereaved fathers, veteran PCFF members, concluded the evening by reciting in Hebrew and Arabic, the moving poem by Mahmoud Darwish, "Think Of Others" .