By LUISA MORGANTINI
Vice President of the European Parliament
Solidar's Silver Rose Award to the Parents Circle Families Forum:
A hope for peace, justice and reconciliation for Palestinians and Israelis
Brussels, 16th October 2007
"I am very proud and glad that the Silver Rose jury accepted my proposal to dedicate this year's Solidar Silver Rose Award, in its "International category - Peace and Reconciliation" to the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF)."PCFF is made up of over 500 bereaved families from both Israel and Palestine, promoting dialogue and true reconciliation" declared Luisa Morgantini Vice President of the European Parliament on the occasion of the Silver Rose Awards ceremony, today 16th October in the EP, in Brussels.
"The Israeli Aaron Barnea and the Palestinian Aziz Abu Sarah, have been rewarded on behalf of all the families of the Forum of Parents Circle who have directly experienced the suffering and loss caused by the longstanding tragedy of the conflict. All of them have tried to build their families despite the loss of their loved ones through violence.
The Forum strives to change perceptions of the "Enemy" and to struggle against attitudes of violence and of vengeance: they organize dialogue meetings in Israeli and Palestinian secondary schools, involving some 40,000 students in more than 1,000 classroom sessions each year, seminars and training for young people to build dialogue, but also "Reconciliation Workshops" attended by thousands of adults in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, summer camps for children from bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families and many other examples that represent the real hope for a just a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Their aim of humanising the conflict and encouraging a genuine dialogue is extremely important in order to genuinely build a peaceful solution, starting by involving the two wounded civil societies and people. As Nurit Peled - rewarded with the Sakharov Price in 2001 by the European Parliament and herself a member of a bereaved family - says, the military occupation is killing both Palestinians and Israelis: the Parents Circle Forum also recognizes the need for justice for all.
They really need and deserve all our support and help in order to educate and influence the public and policymakers to stop the violence and to achieve a political agreement, based on the mutual respect of two peoples in two independent and secure States".
SOLIDAR is an independent international alliance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are involved in social service provision, international co-operation, humanitarian aid and life-long learning, and are historically linked to the free and democratic labour and trade union movement.
Solidar's Silver Rose Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations that are active in the fight for social justice.
Every year, Solidar receives nominations from around the world. The winners, chosen by the Silver Rose jury, are people or organisations, working in civil society, who dedicates their work to bringing about a fairer and more just society.
More info about Parents Circle– Families Forum (PCFF), Israel/Palestine: http://www.theparentscircle.com/