CEOs partners; Khaled Abu Awwad and Nir Oren, opened the conference with greetings. In his words Abu Awwad strongly condemned the attack in the northern West Bank settlement of Itamar. Abu Awwad said unequivocally that the murder of innocent children is cruel and does not reflect the Palestinian society.
The new reconciliation center of the PCFF hosted the lecture that opened the conference. Dr. Maya Kahanoff, academic director of the Center, hosted a panel on "Reconciliation during a time of Conflict." Participating in the panel was Dr. Alon Liel, former Israeli ambassador to South Africa and Turkey, and Ali Abu Awwad, spokesman and Project Manager for the PCFF. Dr. Alon Liel spoke on the South African experience, and compared it to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In his remarks he argued that the process of reconciliation will not only bring a political change but also maintains the situation as it is. Dr. Liel said the Israeli leadership uses meetings with the Palestinians (such as those conducted by the PCFF) to show the world that the peace process is taking place here, while they are not backing these activities politically. He said the Palestinians should demand the right to vote in the Israeli elections. This would force the Israeli leadership to end the occupation.
Ali Abu Awwad spoke on the values of reconciliation and the challenges facing the reconciliation process, especially in the absence of a political agreement. Abu Awwad spoke of the fear that exists in Israeli society and described it as one of the main obstacles facing the process of reconciliation between peoples.
Left to right: Ali Abu Awwad, Dr. Alon Liel, Dr. Maya Kahanoff
After a short break participants were divided into four discussion groups; One group discussed the personal stories of new and old PCFF members. The second group discussed Reconciliation; needs, challenges and the essence of what reconciliation really means. The third group discussed the political statement of the PCFF and if it suits the existing realities on both sides. The fourth group was made up of more than thirty young people from both sides, all from bereaved families. The youth group discussed ways to contact each other and decided to use Facebook and other social networks as a tool to promote peace and reconciliation.
Thirty Israeli and Palestinian teenagers talk about spreading the message of reconciliation.
After lunch, PCFF's staff concluded by discussing the activities of 2010. Khaled Abu Awwad and Nir Oren summarized the past year and spoke a few words on plans for 2011. Project managers presented the various activities, including the "History through the Human Eye" project, all the aspects of the "Reconciliation Center", dialogue sessions in schools, meetings with Israeli Knesset members and members of the Palestinian Parliament, project "Crack in the Wall ", the new PCFF's sites that are under construction and other Internet activities as part of a global transition of activities onto the Internet. In short, because of lack of time, Nir Oren spoke about PCFF's foreign relations and activities and about the respected awards the PCFF had won last year. All of us thanked Tsurit Sarig a PCFF member who is leaving her role as the Israeli coordinator of the women activities after three years of volunteering.
Tsurit receives gift separation, beside: Aisha Aqtam, Khaled Abu Awwad and Nir Oren.
In a family and optimistic atmosphere and with sweet refreshments, the Annual Meeting of the PCFF came to an end with a shared hope of further meetings in a peaceful future.
Ahmad Eljaafri, and Sharon Kalimi Misheiker
Translation: James Maron
Photo: Uri Leshem
Thanks: Dr. Alon Liel, Ali Abu Awwad, Dr. Maya Kahanoff, Dr. Jona Bargur, Niv Sarig, Siham Abu Awwad, Muhammad El-Paw, Jamil Qassas, Ibrahim Khalil, Munzr, Wajee Tamyeze, Tima Ravia, Oded Leshem, Iris Meisler, Ahmad Eljaarfi, Nir Oren, Khaled Abu Awwad, Rakefet Enoch, Mazen Faraj, Nir Yesod, Osama Abu-Ayash, Ayelet Harel, Nadine, Robi Damelin, Aaron Barnea, Aisha Aqtam, Tsurit Sarig, Sharon Kalimi Misheiker