My name is Ziva Rakhamim and I am from Or Yehuda. A flyer for the Narrative Project caught my attention and I decided to sign up even though I have always felt that the conflict is too complex and didn’t take a stand either way. When I was accepted into the project, I apologized and explained that I had no ideas for resolving the conflict, but that I was willing to listen and observe. At my first meeting, I heard the personal stories of Palestinian women, and how they suffered loss, grief, and distress, and I felt close to them immediately. By the end of the meeting, I realized I was better able to understand their suffering as I slowly remembered my own childhood experiences of war, memories that were well suppressed.
All of this made me think of peace, and that we cannot wait for leaders on either side, but that even the peace achieved in this women’s group is another step forward on the road to a comprehensive solution.
My name is Khalid Juma, and I work as a high school teacher in Palestine. I live in Aroub Refugee Camp, near Hebron, and participated in the Parallel Narratives Experience.
Taking part in this project had a powerful impact on me, as I’ve never had a conversation in Palestine with Jewish Israelis who are willing to discuss the rights of the Palestinian people.
During the first meeting, we went on two tours as part of studying the narratives of both sides. The first was to the village of Lifta, whose Palestinian residents were expelled in 1948. This visit brought a deep sadness to my soul and made me remember stories my father used to tell us about his home village, Hata.
The second tour was held at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, where we learned of the suffering of Jewish people under the Nazis in World War II. What I saw greatly saddened me, and the photos and descriptions left a deep pain in the tour participants. I hoped and expected that the Jewish people, because of the power and influence they now have, would not repeat acts of discrimination and the oppression of powerless people.
During the meetings, I made lasting ties with Israelis. I found people whose empathy is genuinely transformational, and who support our right to live in freedom in an independent state.