P Is For Palestine
Women's March of Hope. Photo by Abbas Momani/ AFP
While the recent, unprecedented U.N. resolution against Israeli settlements triggered the usual bellicose lunacy from Netanyahu - who huffed "We do not turn the other cheek" to justify his series of vindictive responses - it also represents what Israeli activist and writer Gideon Levy calls "a breath of hope in a sea of darkness and despair." Levy speaks for the thousands on both sides of the conflict who continue quietly, persistently, with little or no press coverage, working for a better way.
They include the Palestinian Santas who this Christmas again protested in Bethlehem against the Occupation, and got tear-gassed for their efforts; the 600 Israeli and Palestinian bereaved family members who despite having lost loved ones in the conflict persevere in reaching out to "the other," persuasively arguing that if they can, anyone can; and the authors of a new "P is for Palestine: A Palestine Children’s ABC Book." It was needed, they argue, because, "The story of Palestine is the story of our humanity at large. It is the story of all people... seeking a pride of place."
Perhaps most movingly, they also include thousands of Israeli and Arab women of Women Wage Peace who this October embarked on a two-week, ever-growing March of Hope to show the world "what we can be when we join together for peace." Weaving through Israel and the West Bank, the march ultimately scooped up almost ten thousand people en route before ending with a massive rally in Jerusalem outside Netanyahu's residence. Citing a women's prayer service that preceded it, Israeli singer Yael Deckelbaum told the crowd, "We were 4,000 women, half of them Palestinians. They told me there was nobody to make peace with. Today, we proved that wrong.”
Below, the haunting Prayer of the Mothers, insisting we must choose life and peace, that emerged from the action.
Photo by ActiveStills