Most Palestinians and Israelis have normalized themselves to the reality we are living in. Many others just say “reach a peace agreement;” as if this will end the conflict. Others encourage dialogue and bringing people together, as if that will result in real tangible change.
Unlike many other joint Palestinian-Israeli programs that do not achieve the outcomes they intend to and may even numb or distort participants from engaging in the deep work of discovering, exposing, and resisting the foundational reasons of the occupation and conflict; this program is an opportunity for to do just that.
Fear is a key motivation in continuing the injustice and violence. The traumas we have experienced and inherited cause us to become closed and consumed by hatred, mistrust, demonizing, dehumanizing, violence (in all its forms) and justifying it.
Many of those engaging in peace work, even politicians who want to sign a peace agreement, are consumed by fear and trauma: “Let us reach an agreement before they destroy us.”
We are trapped in our deepest existential anxieties: How can Jews give up their historic fear of the “other”? How can Palestinians be asked to believe in any future? Fear, though many will not admit it, defines us – so how can we overcome it?
We will not be able to move towards a more promising future without thoroughly exploring the roots of fear and hatred, learning to recognize them, to cope with their power, and address them.
The program is not dedicated to promoting a political solution but we refuse to normalize the reality that we live in. This is not a dialogue group or a workshop on resolving the conflict. We go to the core of it all, to create a paradigm shift for a future that is founded on solid ground. We want to address the conflict not as a political condition, but as a human condition which traps both Palestinians and Israelis emotionally, physically, and spiritually in its brutal existence.
It is possible to study the language of fear and change it into a language of faith in humanity and hope. Together we interrogate the fears of both peoples; we learn new tools that we can implement in our lives. In the world, and in our region, various tools have been developed that allow us to understand our spiritual scars and those of the other, to accept our fears and to understand the fears of the other. The seminar series provides an in-depth introduction to the use of some of these tools for implementation in the communities people belong to. These tools include nonlinear thinking, spiritual questionnaire, active witnessing, and mindfulness.
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