The women's group of the PCFF has been meeting for the last three years. The war in Gaza changed the groups plans and the two organizers; Aesha Aktam and Tsurit Sarig, had to think things over and find what to do in the current situation. With a group of Israeli and Palestinian women they decided to create a meeting that would allow the women to express their feelings after the war.
On Friday the 13th of March, we met at the Arab Jewish Center in Jaffa. Ibrahim Abu Shindi, The center's General Manager, and Nir Oren the PCFF Israeli General Manager, welcomed the women.
The women were divided into 5 groups. Each group was accompanied by two moderators from the Forum, an Israeli and a Palestinian, and a translator. The women were asked to express their feelings while using paint on a piece of paper. The idea was to express feelings while using hands and paint before using any words. Some of the Palestinian paintings were in the colors of the Palestinian flag and showed death, blood, Israeli soldiers taking over Palestinian houses and using guns. Some of the paintings showed hope for the future, a Palestinian state or the Israeli and the Palestinian flag on top of a common house. An Israeli women who's house was bomb during the war and is still under Hamas attacks, drew a man with an enormous ear to hear the alarm, running. Above him sealed sky and behind him the ruins of Gaza. Other paintings from both sides showed an eye with tears, a mother crying over her child, a mother holding her baby, a whirlpool, et cetera.
In the next part the women expressed their feelings in words and told some stories from the war and the days after the war. Two Israeli women who live in southern Israel, in places that were and are still bombed by the Hamas, told about running to look for a hide out when the alarm goes off and about the traumas of the children. A few Palestinians from a village in the West Bank told what happened to them lately when Israeli soldiers entered their village and their houses. Tear gas was thrown into one of the women's yards.
After talking for about two hours the women ate lunch and heard the center's women choir. A short walk to the sea concluded the meeting.
The women felt it was another successful meeting of the ladies of the forum.
We thank Saaba Foundation who sponsors this year's women's meetings. We thank the translators: Ilana, Buseyna, Husra, and our members Salma and Fida. We thank the organizers and the moderators: Aesha, Aesha, Anat, Daniela, Merav ,Neta, Noeit, Sarit, Siham, Soheir, Tsurit, Yael. We thank Sara for her idea.
We can't end without thanking the Arab-Jewish center in Jaffa and Hadas Kaplan who welcomed us and helped us in organizing the day.
Photography: Mashka Litvak