As more and more Israelis and Palestinians come to the US on speaking tours, more and more Americans are learning the truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the injustices, and the need to establish peace through real solutions. In this announcement from the Council for the National Interest, a group of Israeli and Palestinian women has come to the US to do just that.
This announcement was written by Terry Walz, CNI Staff and sent out on April 10, 2007 (reprinted here with CNI’s permission).
A group of Israeli and Palestinian women spoke of the need to speak the truth about the occupation of Palestine both in Israel and the US. The group, sponsored by Partners for Peace, a Washington-based organization, is touring selected Midwest cities under the name "Jerusalem Women Speak."
In advance of the tour, the group spoke yesterday at the Palestine Center in Washington about their daily lives and aspirations as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains deadlocked. The women included Amal Nassar, a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem, Tal Dor, an Israeli Jew from Haifa, and Huda Abu Arqoub, a Palestinian Muslim from near Hebron. Each woman had a particular story to tell, shaped by their very different personal experiences. All felt that the real situation of the Palestinian people was habitually ignored not only in the West but especially in Israel.
Dor, whose parents emigrated from apartheid South Africa to Israel and works as an activist in Israel, spoke of her slow awakening to the human and political realities in her country - and to the similarities and differences of apartheid as practiced in South Africa and Israel. "We are fed myths and lies," she said, and that as a young person she felt the need to open the eyes of her countrymen to what the reality of the occupation is and to fight for a more just and equitable Israeli society. "I believe we have to speak about justice, equality, and ending the occupation. We cannot live at the expense of other peoples and speak about peace."
Abu Arqoub, who works as an educational consultant for the Ministry of Education of the Palestinian National Authority, felt the need to show the reality of the occupation by relating three stories from her acquaintances - a boy in Hebron who was arrested for playing in the street and helping a friend, a shopkeeper who was hit on the head by an Israeli soldier during a nonviolent protest, an old man who was arrested for trying to prevent the Israeli army from expelling him from the house his family lived in. These events are usually described as terrorist acts, and the reality behind the stories is never known.
For Nassar, the occupation has involved her family's tortured attempts to hold on to an olive grove that had been deeded to them in 1917 - before the founding of the state of Israel. The grove stands close to the many huge settlement blocs in and around Jerusalem, and has involved their family in constant court cases at their own expense, as bits of the land are seized for development purposes or the construction of Jews-only roads. Its 250 trees have been uprooted by settlers, an act of vandalism that prompted her family and other Palestinians to replant 400 new ones. To spread the word, the family has set of a nonprofit organization on the land called Tent of Nations which attempts to bring youths of all nations together for reconciliation and peace.
The women will be visiting Chicago and Evanston and in nine localities in Wisconsin before returning to Washington, DC during the period April 10-26. For a full schedule, see their itinerary at
Both Israelis and Palestinians want peace. Help them by attending any of these presentations.