Across Two Narratives – Israeli and Palestinian Women Experience the Narrative of the Other (Summer 2015)

From American Friends of the Parents Circle

Photo Credit to Ayelet Harel

Photo Credit to Ayelet Harel

This past May, some 30 Israeli and Palestinian women, participating in the Parents Circle’s Across Two Narratives Project, visited the village of Lifta, whose Palestinian inhabitants were expelled in 1948. After the visit, which is one way this Project aspires to show the national narrative of the other side, the women engaged in a discussion. Complex issues and experiences were raised.

“This experience is not to blame, but to understand what took place and what they as women could change from now on.”

Several of the Palestinian women shared their family’s story of expulsion and loss. One of the Israeli women told about her experience as a child picking fruit in Lifta and how fond she is of those childhood memories; she had not known the history of the village. One of the Palestinians said that the point of this experience is not to blame, but to understand what took place and what they as women could change from now on. The Palestinian women asked the Israeli women to share the story of Litfa with their families and with others, agreeing that telling the story and having it heard is a significant piece of creating dialogue. Following the visit to Lifta, the women will meet again for a site visit that tells the Israeli national narrative. The project is funded by the European Union’s Partnership for Peace program.

Learn more about the Parents Circle and the Parallel Narrative Project (www.theparentscircle.org).

 

Photo Credit to Ayelet Harel

Photo Credit to Ayelet Harel

This experience is part of the PCFF’s successful Parallel Narrative Experience (PNE) model – a workshop which more than 600 Israelis and Palestinians have now been through including groups of educators, social workers, journalists, grandmothers, civil society leaders and more. The site visits are just one component of the PNE which also includes unilateral and bi-national trust building sessions, in-depth personal narrative exchanges and unilateral processing sessions. The results following the PNE are astounding. Our evaluations show that:

  • 82% of the participants show an increase in positive perception of “the other.”
  • 51% of the participants reported an increase in their levels of knowledge and acknowledgment of the other’s narrative.
  • 86% of participants reported an improvement in their level of trust in the other side.
  • 93% of participants reported an improvement in their level of empathy for the other side.
  • 62% of participants reported an increase in their willingness to be engaged in activities supporting peace building and reconciliation.

The Parents Circle is an Israeli and Palestinian organization made up of more than 600 bereaved families all of whom have lost a loved one to the conflict and have made the unique decision to work towards creating a reconciliation framework for a sustainable peace.