Speakers Ali Abu Awwad and Robi Damelin
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[Applause] Ali Abu Awwad, Robi Demelin. Parents' Circle - Family Forum [Applause continues] I would like to read extract from the letter which I wrote to the family of the sniper who killed David, my son. This, for me, is one of the most difficult letters I will ever have to write. My name is Robi Damelin, and I am the mother of David who was killed by your son. I know he did not kill David because he was David if he had known him, he could never have done such a thing. David was twenty-eight years old He was a student at Tel-Aviv university doing his masters in the philosophy of education. David was part of the peace movement and did not want to serve in the occupied territories. He had a compassion for all people and understood the suffering of the Palestinians. He treated all around him with dignity. David was part of the movement of the officers who did not want to serve in the occupied territories but nevertheless, for many reasons he went to serve when he was called to the reserves. All my life I have spent working for causes of coexistence both in South Africa and here. After David was killed, I started to look for a way to prevent other families, both Israeli and Palestinian from suffering this dreadful loss. I was looking for a way to stop the cycle of violence. Nothing for me is more sacred than human life No revenge or hatred can ever bring my child back. After a year I closed my office and joined the Parents' Circle - Families Forum. We are a group of Israeli and Palestinian families who have all lost an immediate family member in the conflict. We are looking for ways to create a dialogue with the long-term vision of reconciliation. After your son was captured, I spent many sleepless nights thinking about what to do. Should I ignore the whole thing or will I be true to my integrity and to the work that I am doing and try to find a way for closure and reconciliation. This is not easy for anyone and I am just an ordinary person, not a saint. I have come to the conclusion that I would like to try to find a way to reconcile. Maybe this is difficult for you to understand or believe but I know in my heart it is the only path that I can choose for if what I say is what I mean, it is the only way. I understand that your son is considered a hero by many of the Palestinian people. He is considered to be a freedom fighter fighting for justice and for an independent, viable Palestinian state but I also feel that if he understood that taking the life of another is not the way and that if he understood the consequences of his act he could see that a non-violent solution is the only way for both nations to live together in peace. [Applause] Our lives, as two nations, are so intertwined. Each of us will have to give up on our dreams for the future of our children, who are our responsibility. I do not know what your reaction will be, it is a risk for me. But I believe that you will understand as it comes from the most honest part of me I hope that you will show the letter to your son and that maybe in the future that we can meet. Let us put an end to the killing and look for a way through mutual understanding and empathy to live a normal life, free of violence [Applause] Now you can recognize that there are heros in the Middle-East and peace is possible. I want -- You know, I'm not going to tell you all of my life story. I've been to prison for four years, my mother was in a prison for five years for resisting the Israeli occupation. and I grew up in a refugee family. I lost my land, I lost my home, I lost many of my dreams and in 2000 I lost my brother, and I was wounded by a settler. So, I believe that the case of revenge inside me doesn't exist because the killing of my brother was not a case of a personal case it's a political case. My brother has been killed because he was a Palestinian. But I believe that I lost my brother but I didn't lose my mind. It's so hard -- [Applause] It's so hard to deal with all of this but I believe on the other hand that people cannot reconcile not because they don't want peace but because they cannot live with the daily suffering and they don't know where to put the anger so I believe that causing a nation of suffering if you bind a nation by building walls and barriers we'll not secure another nation. Maybe this [Applause] Maybe this could bring a Psychologists' solution but it will not bring a human being solution that people can live either together or side by side. I believe that it's easy to judge people it's easy to close people down. My message, especially to the Jewish people wherever they are that you are not my enemy, your fear is my enemy. I am attacking today your fear. So please don't throw your problems to the sea because those problems learn how to swim. You cannot ignore the whole reality by being taking a side or being right. It's very easy to be right because it's so hard to be honest. You can go and you can find the truth. The truth is millions of people. It's not their destiny to keep dying by this way. I'm not begging for peace, peace will come and I remember that Gandhi once said that there is no way for peace, peace is the way. You first do peace without any conditions then everybody will identify the word. [Applause] I believe [repeated] I believe that material can easily damage material Air Force can easily attack houses but material will never succeed to damaging human beings. Thank you. [Applause]
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