“One of my friends at school used to say she didn’t like to communicate with Jewish Israelis—but I have talked to her all about what I have heard in Kids4Peace and told her about what I believe, and she has told me that she has since changed her opinion. That is a start.”
- Maria – Palestinian Christian participant, 15 years old
My mother and father are both originally from Nazareth, and I have two younger brothers. My parents both moved to Jerusalem to study at the university, and that’s where they met. When I tell my story, I feel I represent more than just myself—[people] look and see me as a ‘typical’ Palestinian Christian girl living in Jerusalem.
When I speak with a Muslim Arab, I don’t feel any separation. But I do feel the distance when I am with a Jewish Israeli. There is a bigger difference because we don’t share language, culture, or food, so all these small differences make it harder. But now, when I talk to people from any background, I don’t want to think about all the differences, we are all human, and we should not let these differences get in our way.
Until I joined Kids4Peace I hadn’t had much experience talking with Jewish people or Jewish kids of any background—up until 6th grade I was a bit shy. Even though we all live here in Jerusalem, we live together everyday, we don’t talk to the other side. They speak Hebrew, I speak Arabic, we share this space, but we don’t talk.
I wasn’t that interested in how Jews live or what they believe because I assumed that what I heard on the news, in Palestinian news, was the truth. I didn’t think I needed to hear their stories. But when I started learning about non-violent communication, and when we really began confronting the problems between us, then I started caring, and became interested.
You always think that Israelis don’t want us here. But then one day, I heard an Israeli in Kids4Peace say they didn’t want us to go, that they wanted us to stay and live together in peace, I was shocked.
Now I’ve learned why it’s important to keep talking, and we have to keep trying. We have to hear each other stories to know how to work together in the future, and make a change. If 5% of the people believe peace is possible and go to their own communities and share, it will grow.
One of my friends at school used to say she didn’t like to communicate with Jewish Israelis—but I have talked to her all about what I have heard in Kids4Peace and told her about what I believe, and she has told me that she has since changed her opinion. That is a start.