Large numbers of Arabs and Jews are picking up the phone and talking to people “on the other side” about reconciliation, tolerance and peace thanks to a a toll-free telephone service. Over 1,000,000 calls were placed since the project has started.
Sammy Waed, a Palestinian, never thought he would become friends with an Israeli soldier, especially one who had occupied his hometown of Ramallah. But using the new hotline, the 20-year-old ended up speaking to Arik, a 23-year-old from Tel Aviv.
“Arik told me how much he hated his army service, because he was in the middle of a civilian population, policing children and causing harm to innocent people,” Waed told New York Daily News special correspondent, Deborah Blachor.
“Before, I thought Israelis didn’t care at all when innocent Palestinians suffer and are killed,” he said. “But now I know they do care and I have hope that there can be peace.”
Hello, Peace! (Hello Shalom-Hello Salaam!) was launched in October 2002 by the Parents Circle -Families Forum, a joint group of over 400 bereaved Israeli and Palestinian parents who believe peace is still possible despite having lost a child or loved one in the conflict.
Hello Peace! advertisements appear on billboards and in newspaper ads in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The power of dialogue is leading to friendships. Callers reconnect with each other after terrorist attacks, making sure their friend is okay. It influences children. One Palestinian asked a Jewish Israeli to speak with his two children. He wanted them to learn that Jews were not monsters.
Callers will hear a voice message: Hello, you have reached Hello Shalom, Hello Salaam. If you wish to talk to an Israeli about reconciliation, tolerance and peace, dial 1; if you wish to talk to a Palestinian about reconciliation, tolerance and peace, dial 2. They can listen to the hundreds of voice messages and decide whom they want to contact, and remain anonymous. They can call as often as they want.
From Israel, Gaza or the West Bank, just dial *6364 from a land line or 054-7900055 from any mobile phone and listen to the instructions.
“It's time to stop the killing and start talking again.”
The Hello Peace Project is financed by the European Community.
Graham Dixon from TROUBLE at' MILL wrote the song "HELLO PEACE" Inspired by a BBC Radio 4 programme - "Calls Across The Wall"- the story of Hello Peace phone line.
listen to the song