This is an account of three weeks spent in Israel and the Occupied Territories talking to activists and volunteers engaged in initiatives to foster cooperation and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. Interviews in the article include: with the Siraj Centre who run walking tours in the West Bank and along the renowned Abraham Peace Trail; Yesh Din who investigate infringements of personal and property rights experienced by Palestinians in the Occupied Territories; The Greenhouse at Kibbutz ein Shemer, where Israeli and Palestinian youth collaborate in conducting scientific, ecologically based experiments; Neve Shalom where Jews and Palestinian Arabs have been living together for fifty years; Derech Hachlama whose volunteers drive Palestinian families with sick children from checkpoints to Israeli hospitals; and others. Within the context of the Netanyahu government’s increasingly hard-line approach to the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, the unsung story of this intrepid band of warriors for peaceful coexistence deserves telling.
Christine Cohen Park has published three novels, prose, and short story anthologies. This piece stems from a research trip to Israel and Palestine for her present novel.