(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘There is no one to talk to” has been the Israeli mantra for the past 15 years. There is no one to talk to, so let us also prevent any attempt to destroy the myth. After all we want peace, but there is no one to talk to.
Once again Remembrance Day is with us, once again the music is sad and the crocodile tears pour from the eyes of our politicians who, only in the past week or two, found it necessary to abuse bereaved parents who were invited to the Knesset to hear answers from the government. Some of these parents still do not know for sure the fate of their beloved sons and have no grave to stand next to while listening to cynical speeches about our dead heroes at the official ceremony.
There is no one to talk to, so it was only natural for the military experts to prevent some 300 Palestinians, the majority of whom have lost a loved one to the conflict, from coming to the ceremony which Combatants for Peace, and the Parents Circle – Families Forum run every year on the eve of Remembrance Day.
Our ceremony is for both sides, and the very fact that it is attended by Palestinians is probably the only message of hope that comes out of this very sad day. Yes, I said hope. Some 12 years ago it was started with probably no more than 200 people attending, and because of the message and the attempt to show the humanity and the common denominator of loss and the joint sharing of pain, 3,000 people attended last year.
There is no one to talk to, and yet bereaved Palestinians come to the ceremony and speak in one voice with their Israeli counterparts, asking to stop the violence and to look for reconciliation.
These are the least likely of our Palestinian neighbors to bring a message of peace, and yet they do. They have paid a very high price for their statements and a small amount of respect is the least we can provide in return. It they are willing to come and talk about reconciliation, then surely there must be others, or is there really no one to talk to?
Let me give an example of the “dangerous” people who were invited to talk at the ceremony on Sunday night: Roni Hirshenson, who lost two sons and is still willing to walk a path of reconciliation.
Marian Sa’adeh, whose 12-year-old sister was shot and killed next to her in the family car. She was also wounded, and yet she is in search of a non-violent path toward reconciliation.
Have we as a nation reached an all-time low, where we have lost all faith in the possibility of our children and grandchildren living in a world without violence? The author is a bereaved mother, member and spokesperson for The Parents Circle – Families Forum.