By: Nour Najeeb
Pikin, Israel. – October 21, 2017
On the 20th of October 2017, Hands Of peace participants from all over the country got the chance to meet again in the region of Akko “”عكا. Older and younger alumni from various delegations decided to dedicate their weekend to the seminar, where the main focus was on the Intifada narratives’ from the Palestinian and Israeli perspectives.
It is noteworthy to mention the multiple reasons that attracted participants to this seminar and urged them to have an active role here. For instance, many mentioned that seminars are the best way to continue what they already started in the US, while others feel that seminars enable them to update participants from other delegations about the daily events that are happening. Also, some added that they tend to join in order to meet their best friends form other delegations who they won’t be able to meet anywhere else except in HOP.
The seminar included activities that impacted the participants differently. The dual narrative tour in Akko enabled alumni to widen their knowledge of various events that they never heard of. In addition, both delegations got the chance to hear the narrative of the other from a historical perspective. Second, the lecture by Dr. Giora Goodman and the Al-Jazeera movie flamed mixed emotions in the participants. Alumni in both delegations pointed out the importance of having a Palestinian lecturer rather than screening a movie about Palestinian civilians. Thus many from the Israeli delegation added: “it is not fair not to screen a movie about people from our society who also suffer from this conflict”, in addition other Israelis added: “we need a Palestinian lecturer in order to be able to ask him questions just like Palestinians do when they listen to the Israeli lecturer.”
Like always, dialogues played a fundamental role in showing the honest feelings of many participants. Participants mentioned that dialogues were not easy to start, thus silence occupied the first minutes of the three dialogues. Some Palestinians justified this silence by their feelings of depression saying that they are “fed up” and need practical work. However, others felt hopeful saying: “ If our parents and the older generation had the chance to do what we are doing now then everything would have changed”.
Finally, it is pivotal to say that these seminars are enabling the alumni to feel more involved and responsible about their duty to do actual work back in their community, whether it is through simple presentations or even through bi-national protests demanding the simple needs of both delegations.
Nour Najeeb participated in our Hands of Peace summer program in 2016 in Chicago, and continues to work towards our mission by attending our seminars and staying involved in the Middle East alumni club.