Parents Circle Families Forum Palestinian-Israeli Reconciliation Mural: Completed by Israeli Berieved Parents and Community at the Main Cinematech on Central Conflict Conversation Tent , Tel Aviv

The Canvas Painted by 20 Palestinian Women in Beit Jallah, was brought to the center of Tel Aviv. Although half the painting was covered with ideas, emotions and color, the other half was completely blank.

Everyday since the beginning of the most recent conflict in Gaza, the Parents Circle Family Forum has set up a tent in the center of the Tel Aviv Cinematech, with chairs in a circle to have a communal conversation. Although the core of this comes from Bereaved Parents, the forum invites anyone from the street to come and participate. As we drove directly into in the heart of Tel Aviv from the hills of the West Bank, we brought the canvas to hang around the exterior of the tent. The Tent was set up, and it was adorned with a large sign saying in hebrew “ It won’t stop until we talk.” And so the painting conversation began.

 As the conversation started and the painted began, two well known Israeli Artists started the painting, one of which had lost his son to conflict years before. The painting began to gain momentum, and people from the street began to join. Surprisingly, a large number of children were eager to paint. With no instruction, this organic community of Israelis created in harmony with the conversation of war intensity humming in the background. Everyone was very aware not to touch the side of the Palestinians, and the division was indicative of the conflict itself. A conversation framed by separation.

Although aware of the intensity of the Mural, most of the content created was composed of hopeful images of birds, trees and a life aiming towards the future. Throughout the creation of the piece, media and spectators gathered around asking about the painting. As the evening was coming to a close the famed singer who sang the final song before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, sang the same song in front of the mural before the crowd. A reminder of the trail of conflict starting many years ago.

As the piece finished, two faces arose from the mist of the canvas, mirroring the same faces on the Palestinian side. Both sides, simple peaceful sleeping faces of human beings. No matter the side, humanity is the core of the statement under the politics. The conversation finished, and as we were packing up the canvas, one of the palestinian men who came to speak at the tent was in a heated argument with a religious Jew off the street As this piece stood, painting faces staring at the sparring screaming opponents of different cultures, a realization befell the air. Although the Palestinian women who put their soul into the painting may never meet the small Israeli children who put their heart on the page to coincide, they had a conversation which will live on in that painting.  Dialogue is many times impossible when trauma breeds hate. But when trauma can be directed into creativity, the result may answer that foreboding statement “ It won’t stop, until we talk.”

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