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Opening Hearts: A Message of Humanity

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

A conversation with Chani Smith and Ahlam Akram about the Fragile Path to Peace, Reconciliation and Forgiveness

The Parents Circle –Families Forum is composed of Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families who have joined together to spread a message of tolerance, dialogue and non-violence. This organisation is active in Israel and the Palestinian territories, promoting peace and reconciliation.

On the 5th March 2008, I interviewed two remarkable women, both living in London: Chani Smith, an Israeli, who is the Hon. Secretary of the Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum UK (FBFF), and Ahlam Akram, a Palestinian, who was their Co-Chair at the time of the interview. The FBFF supports the Parents Circle – Families Forum in their many projects, by raising funds for them and by increasing awareness here in Britain of the importance of working together for peace. They believe that the tragic loss of lives will come to an end only through both sides’ empathy and respect for each other’s pain and dignity. Their organisation is not political; they firmly believe in the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis.

The main work of this grass-roots organisation is to ‘humanise’ the conflict, to help each side understand the pain of the other and promote peace and reconciliation. They believe that this is in the interest of both communities. Their committee consists of Palestinians and Jews, working together for a non-violent solution to the conflict .