Mediation for ReconciliationReconcilation and Community

Open Session With A Group of Unemployed Citizens

Thursday 13th of March 2008Location:  Haneen association, Rafah governorate Participants: 39SummaryPal Think for Strategic Studies has organized a workshop to discuss the proposed initiatives for national reconciliation from the point of view of a selected group of unemployed and workers.

Mr. Rajab Abu Sirreyah started the discussion with an introduction of the recent Palestinian situation, talking about the previous events of June which led to it. He also mentioned the activities carried out by PalThink and the initiatives its sponsoring which come from national basis.

The meeting has witnessed some partisan and ideological intolerance as well as attacks on leaders and factions.  Mr. Rajab clarified that the numerous initiatives which were provided were not taken seriously by either of the disputing groups, which is due to the fact that there is a real problem and that the people is the only side that is suffering. He also talked about Palestinian history starting with the “Nakbeh” catastrophe, and how relations between all Palestinians were very close then. He also talked about factors surrounding the Palestinian people including regional and national ones and their relation to the ongoing conflict. Mr. Rajab has expressed his appreciation to some of the organizations which are trying to help in reaching national accord. On the other hand, he criticized many national forces, factions and political blocs for their non-interference or inability to influence the situation especially at a time the entire national project has become prone to collapse.  On the economical side, he expressed his worries and discontent of what the Palestinian people is going through including their deteriorating humanitarian and economical situations. He also added that everyone is after power, but it should be done in a peaceful and democratic way like many other modern countries.There were many comments and points of view in this regard, most importantly:That the Palestinian people are hurt and that the pain is great ad deep but people must swallow their wounds. No one can do even a peaceful act of protest out of fear to loose their salaries. The problem is not economical where the situation prior to the first Intifada shows that there were many people who used to work inside Israel and make a lot of money, yet there was a great refusal to the occupation and fighting it.  Many participants’ comments showed dislike to hamas and have held the movement responsible for the current situation. Some other comments talked about solidarity and social integration clarifying that many of the youth still feel these ties even though the current situation may suggest otherwise.  Some other comments explained how that the problem is not at the citizens’ level or in the social system, but rather it stems from the top leaders and decision makers. Others talked about the importance of national reconciliation which has to have forgiveness and amnesty within it. Participants pointed out the importance of holding workshops that would call for forgiveness in order to show solidarity of the one people against the occupation.At the end participants agreed on a number of points including:

1- Public pressure on the decision makers.

2- To connect the media of both groups and taking it to the streets level

.3- Working on encouraging trust between the two parties.4- Working to achieve social partnership between the two groups.

5- The importance of educating the civil society organizations in order to carry out their responsibilities and to keep away from being partisan. 6- Activating the role of the political factions.

11- The importance of paying attention to the proper bringing up of children and keeping them away from partisan intolerance.The meeting was concluded with a final word which called for national unity and staying away from internal differences, as well as accepting others.

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