The Parents Circle — Families Forum
The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF) is a joint Palestinian and Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict. At the heart of the work of The Parents Circle is a desire to end the conflict that has caused such suffering — and a belief that reconciliation is the first, necessary step.
Members of PCFF have dedicated their efforts to education around the importance of reconciliation, often drawing on their own painful experiences of loss to advocate for a peaceful solution.
“Our common bond is that we have lost a close family member to the conflict. But instead of choosing revenge, we have chosen a path of reconciliation.”
Through educational and public awareness activities, the bereaved family members of PCFF work to bring both sides of the conflict to a point of reconciliation. For many, the activities and conversations led by the Parent’s Circle are the first time they have seen “the other side” as human.
Among the many ongoing campaigns and activities run by PCFF, the Dialogue Meetings are some of the most important ongoing daily work done on the ground. These meetings address Israeli and Palestinian students and adults, reaching over 25,000 students annually. In these meetings, a Palestinian and Israeli representative of the Parent’s Circle share their personal narratives and joint message of reconciliation. After these presentations, those who attend often show a change in attitude and a willingness to explore the possibility of dialogue.
Following a presentation, one Israeli student said, “I never had a dialogue or met a Palestinian in the past. It was an eye opening experience which gave me a different perspective. I discovered things which I never believed happen on the other side and also their willingness to reconcile. This gave me so much hope and caused me to look at things differently.”
Videos created by The Parent’s Circle communicate the emotional reason for fighting for peace, while their website includes stories and letters by members about the pain of losing their child, sibling or parent, and their personal decision to seek reconciliation. As the Parent’s Circle website describes their work:
“Out of these interactions, comes change. Not the kind of change that makes headlines, but a more personal and profound shift in perspective.”
The Parents Circle is managed by Palestinian and Israeli staff in two offices: a Palestinian Office in Beit Jala and an Israeli Office in Tel Aviv. Although the PCFF has no stated position on the political solution of the conflict, most of its members agree that the solution must be based on free negotiations between the leadership of both sides to ensure basic human rights, the establishment of two states for two peoples, and the signing of a peace treaty. Many believe that the reconciliation work they engage in is what is required to make a negotiated peace sustainable.
Learn more about The Parents Circle — Families Forum and how you can support their programs here.