As Israel and the Palestinians come together in Washington, talk is cheap. Everyone has something to say for or against the meeting.
One of the more unusual groups putting forward a more carefully considered opinion than most is the Parents Circle-Families Forum, an organization that consists of families who have lost a loved one in the conflict – on both sides. This can mean the family of an Israeli soldier who was killed by Palestinians sitting down with the family of a Palestinian killed by the Israeli army in one of the intifadas.
The organization today wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging them: “Do not let the extremists from both sides to detour you from the main road, the road of dialog and negotiation. Do not let the extremists to dictate you the agenda, its rhythm and the very existence of the talks. “
In a public statement it said: “We, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, wives and husbands – Israeli and Palestinian family members of victims of this awful conflict, we, the product of so many missed opportunities, tell you, to our leaders, that we all hope and pray, religious and secular people, that you shall overcome all the pressures on you, that you shall behave like statesmen and not as mere politicians, that you will understand that the fate of hundreds and thousands families is in your hands, that they will be the big losers if you will not reach a peace agreement.”