Peace Day in Palestine: A call for unity
November 5, 2013
When Interpeace partner Mustakbalna introduced the initiative to celebrate peace, excitement among Mustakbalna’s different working groups grew to promote concepts of tolerance and acceptance of plurality.
Who do we make peace with?
The Mustakbalna programme organized two events in observance of Peace Day in two different regions, Hebron (Southern West Bank) and Jenin (Northern West Bank). This was a success in itself as it was the first time that the governorate of Hebron hosted an event to celebrate the day.
The event in Hebron was organized as a large workshop that hosted prominent figures representing political parties, municipalities, clan leaders, and civil society. Totaling around 80 people, the workshop also included working groups of ex-detainees, youth, and women. The workshop, entitled: “Who Do We Make Peace With?” focused on finding solutions to ending internal divisions between the two major political parties, Fatah and Hamas, and called for reconciliation. The workshop focused on humanitarian issues as well, denouncing ‘honor-killings’ of women, and emphasizing the role of youth in promoting tolerance and civic peace.
Peace goes beyond a lack of violence
The event in Jenin included 40 participants from diverse sectors of civil society and political parties, along with Mustakbalna working groups. The event was in the form of a round table discussion about civil peace, as well as an exhibition of caricature art by a young Palestinian artist.
The roundtable discussion focused on recent political and societal changes that have impacted the rule of law and civil peace in the area. The talks also focused on the need for increased efforts towards implementing reconciliation as the peace process remains relatively stagnant. The group came to an understanding that peace was not only about a lack of physical violence, but also about teaching peace and tolerance in schools, mosques, homes, and in the street.
Peace Day as an opportunity for expression
These peace day events in Hebron and Jenin attracted important media coverage due to the relevance of the subjects discussed and the range of participants in attendance. For many Palestinians, Peace Day was an opportunity to express their hopes and aspirations of achieving political stability and societal justice.
Following the Peace Day events, the Mustakbalna groups in both regions jointly prepared a letter highlighting civil peace and reconciliation. So far, the letter has been received by the Governor of Jenin, the Ministry of Culture, several NGOs, as well as a Women’s Union in the region. In the future, the groups will continue to distribute the letter with the goal of promoting civil peace.