Path for peace: Parents Circle event hears from bereaved Israeli and Palestinian

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Path for peace: Parents Circle event hears from bereaved Israeli and Palestinian

Immediately following the Yom Hazikaron ceremony in Israel two men who have recently lost family members to violence speak of the need for reconciliation rather than revenge

Maoz Inon with the mandala his mother gave him. It reads: 'We can achieve all our dreams if we have the courage to chase them'
Maoz Inon with the mandala his mother gave him. It reads: 'We can achieve all our dreams if we have the courage to chase them'

Immediately following Israel’s Yom Hazikaron ceremony commemorating fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, relatives of Palestinian and Israel civilians killed in recent months spoke online of their need to transform their losses into hope.

Maoz Inon told the audience in North America, the UK and beyond about the dream he had on the night of 9 October last year, two days after his parents were murdered in their home in the Netiv HaAsara moshav, on the northern border with the Gaza strip.

In is dream Inon was crying all day and all night, and all humanity was crying with him. “Our tears went down our faces and then I looked at our bodies, destroyed from the wounds, and our tears cured our bodies. It was like an animation movie. It was beautiful to see,” Inon said. “We were whole again. Our tears went down on the ground, soaked with blood. Our tears washed the ground and cured the soil. And then the land was beautiful, shining, brilliant. And on this ground I could see the path to peace.”

Musa Jama’a spoke from his home in the West Bank 

Musa Juma’a, a doctor and writer born in Jerusalem, thanked Maoz for his story before telling his own. He lives in the West Bank and many members of his mother’s family live in Gaza, where they fled in 1948.

He spoke of the 18 family members he has lost in the recent Israel bombardment of the strip. The son and daughter of his uncle, a doctor at al-Shifa Hospital, were killed when their home was bombed but Mira’s body has not been found. Another cousin killed had been the driver of an ambulance in Rafah. “I don’t want to speak about them,” he added, visibly distressed. “I want to speak about the 52 people from my mother’s family still in Gaza. They want everyone to listen to their story.”

Maoz Inon and his parents, Bilha and Yakov, killed in their moshav on the morning of 7 October

Both Inon and Juma’a are part of the Parents Circle–Families Forum, the Israeli-Palestinian organisation of more than 700 families who have lost an immediate family member to the ongoing conflict and have chosen a path of reconciliation rather than revenge. They partnered with American Friends of Combatants for Peace. The webinar followed the attempted livestreaming of the Yom Hazikaron ceremony in Israel, which had been interrupted when the YouTube channel was hacked.

The Zoom webinar, titled Voices of Grief, went ahead entirely as planned and UK participation was facilitated by the New Israel Fund. As presenter Shiri Ourian, head of the American Friends of the Parents Circle, said, both speakers had joined an organisation “they never wanted to be part of, working to make sure no one else has to join”, and with the aim to make sure that next year there will not be more people mourning.

Asked how he had managed to follow a path of forgiveness, Inon said his parents had prepared him for the day they would be killed. “My father was a farmer. He told me about the flood or the insects that were destroying the fields. And he always said, “Next year will be better.’”

His mother too had helped him. A mandala artist, she had made thousands during her life, he said. But she had given him only one, Inon said as he showed it to the audience. On it she had written, in Hebrew: “We can achieve all our dreams if we have the courage to chase them.”

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