After Gaza war, a harder coexistence for Jews and Arabs
Israeli groups that focus on Jewish and Arab coexistence are just beginning to wrestle with the fallout from the Gaza war.
(Page 2 of 2)
"It was a difficult meeting," she says. "They're 14, but they're aware enough of what's going on from parents and in their schools…. But overall they left feeling they were a group and that they can communicate. The long-term process pays dividends."Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is more difficult than the Arab citizens of Israel.
Movement restrictions from the Israeli army's strict security measures and the stigma of talking to the enemy severely limit the ability of Palestinians to reach dialogues that usually held inside Israel.
At one multinational program focusing on joint study of natural science, friendships quickly disintegrated during the war because of arguments waged via Facebook.
A joint venture between Israeli, Palestinian, and French documentary producers, a video blog entitled "Gaza Sderot" chronicled the lives of Israeli Jews and Palestinians up until the start of the war. After the guns fell silent, the producers decided to shoot an extra installment dealing with the war.
Gazan coproducer Yousef Atwa says that he was initially reluctant for the episodes from Gaza and Sderot be presented side by side.
"But we are talking about civilians who are paying for their governments' mistakes on both sides. This has nothing to do with politics," he says.
"All around us it was like, 'The Jews are sending plans to bomb Gaza,' but there are Jews also in the kindergarten," he says. "This is the worst crisis we have gone through. You have to differentiate between the government and the Jews in the kindergarten."
The month since the end of the war has passed swiftly, says Hagar principal Suha Ibrahim. At school, at least, the conflict has faded into the past. A joint picnic is being planned in the upcoming weeks.
"As a community, it brought us together. It wasn't connected to the political positions of the parents. It didn't matter what side you were on, it was clear that the war was dangerous. It divides us into a binary world," says Ifat Hillel, a founder of the kindergarten. "Everyone agreed the fabric we have built together here is the one possibility to live a normal life in the Middle East," she says.