The Parents Circle Families Forum is made up of Israeli – Palestinian bereaved parents, brothers, sisters, children and wives who every day pay the consequence of the cycle of violence and the need for all of our leaders to be right. We, who understand what it means to lose a loved one, send our condolences to the family of the innocent young Palestinian boy killed whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We condemn the kidnapping of three innocent boys whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We of all people understand this pain of loss and the worry of parents who do not know what the fate of their children will be.

We beg for sanity, and the curbing of the repeated call for vengeance. We beg our leaders to end the blame game and think of a creative way to save the fate and future of those children who are still alive. Our loved ones scream out from their graves for a solution. We who visit their graves with broken hearts call for sanity. Call, not for behavior which will create more hatred. Call for respect for the dignity of the “other” call for the possibility of reconciliation.

We ask our leaders to respect the sanctity of human life and not to vote for the inhumane law to force feed the prisoners. We ask the political leaders to understand what these prisoners mean to the Palestinians, and that without their release, as was the case in South Africa and Ireland, there will never be peace. We have amongst our members a Palestinian family who lost their loved one when he was force fed in prison and yet they have chosen a path to reconciliation.

The recent BDS vote of the Presbyterian Church is yet another indication that Israel is fast becoming the pariah of the world, and of how we are losing our moral fiber. We as an organization would be grateful if the monies taken away from companies would be reinvested in projects of reconciliation. This would alleviate any claims of Anti-Semitism.

We ask all not to give in to the temptation of inertia, but to fight for both sides to experience their human rights, a life of dignity, and the safety for all, free of violence.

We at the Parents Circle – Families Circle, both Palestinians and Israelis, will continue with our work on the ground as we are convinced of the need for a reconciliation process to be an integral part of any future political peace process and are sure that without this work no political agreement will bring lasting peace, but rather a ceasefire until the next time.