The parents united by grief: Israeli mother who lost a son, 28, to a sniper in 2002 and Palestinian father whose daughter, ten, was killed in 2007 warn ‘no-one will win’ in latest bloodshed
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Two parents, a Palestinian father and an Israeli mother, who have both lost children in previous conflicts say ‘no one will win’ in the current bloodshed.
Bassam Aramin’s daughter, Abir, ten died at the hands of an Israeli soldier in 2007 while Robi Damelin’s son David, 28, was killed in 2002 by a Palestinian sniper.
The parents, though from opposing sides, have spoken regularly at events together to ‘raise up our voice to stop this madness’. They say they now consider each other ‘like family’ and that ‘We are not here to compare each others’ pain’.
Both are part of the The Parents Circle-Families Forum (PCFF), a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization set up in 1995 to try and help those on both sides who’ve lost families members.
This week, they appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, with Mr Aramin telling host Emma Barnett that the only people that have prospered from the decades of fighting in the Israeli-Gaza conflict are the ‘graves and weapon sellers’.
Appearing on Woman’s Hour this week, Bassam Aramin, who lost his daughter, Abir, ten, at the hands of an Israeli soldier in 2007 and Robi Damelin, whose son David, 28, was killed in 2002 by a Palestinian sniper
He told the programme: ‘We need to treat the roots of this conflict, unfortunately we will wait for another wave and another wave. We know in advance people will die.’
Mr Aramin continued: ‘No one will win. The only winners are the graves and the weapon sellers.
‘We need to understand that both of us have the right to exist and have the right to live in peace and security and prosperity and social justice.
‘We cannot live like this. We have many dark days in our history and this must be stopped.’
Ms Damelin reflected that the current conflict was ‘probably the saddest period that I have experienced in Israel and in Palestine.’
Her son David was a reservist when he was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002, with nine others at a political checkpoint in Ofra.
The pair have become ‘like family’ and have spoken together at events. This week Mr Aramin said on Woman’s Hour this week after the first few days of the new conflict: ‘We need to understand that both of us have the right to exist and have the right to live in peace and security and prosperity and social justice’
Grief: Bassam Aramin’s daughter, Abir, ten, who was killed by an Israeli soldier in 2007. Right: Robi Damelin’s son David, 28, who was killed in 2002 by a Palestinian sniper while serving as a reservist
The parents are part of the The Parents Circle-Families Forum (PCFF), which was set up in 1995 to try and help bereaved people from both side of the conflict
Previously describing the death of her son on the PCFF website, the mother of two said she’d been filled with a ‘terrible premonition’ before hearing the news after her son had told her he felt like a ‘sitting duck’.
The Israeli told listeners this week that it was important to understand the horror for people on both sides of the conflict, saying: ‘Consider what it’s like for a Palestinian woman now, to run away with no shelter with her children.
‘Consider what it’s like for a mother who lives in Sderot, who might have one child that’s in a wheelchair and two others and has 15 seconds to get to the shelter.’
The Parents Circle-Families Forum was the brainchild of Yitzhak Frankenthal and a small group of Israeli families. The group first met bereaved Palestinians from Gaza in 1998 and now incorporates 600 families.
The pair told Radio 4 Woman’s Hour host that they will keep sending out a message of unity
The sixth day of the latest conflict has seen anti-Israel protests held in a ‘day of jihad’ across the world – after former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal demanded thousands of Muslims take to the streets to demonstrate amid the ongoing conflict.
The demonstrations were staged after Friday prayers in Muslim communities around the world – including in Iraq, Japan and Bangladesh – with tens of thousands of protesters condemning Israel’s attacks on Gaza and showing support for Palestinians in the wake of the deadly surprise attack launched by Hamas terrorists against Israelis.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered Friday in Tahrir Square in the centre of Baghdad, and similar protests have been held in Lebanon and other Arab countries following afternoon prayers.
IRAQ: Thousands of protesters gather during a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, in Baghdad on Friday
During some of the protests – like in Iran, Bangladesh and Malaysia – angry demonstrators burned Israeli and American flags. And in Germany, pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with riot police, with one bloodied demonstrator being led away from a square in Berlin in handcuffs.
Thousands more gathered in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Friday for a demonstration in support of Palestinians, with many holding banners reading: ‘The victory march will continue, solidarity with Palestine’ and ‘Stand with Palestine, Liberated Palestine’.
The widespread protests come after former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal demanded thousands take to the streets today.
‘[We must] head to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday,’ Meshaal, who currently heads Hamas’s diaspora office, said yesterday.
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