Saturday, December 14, 2013


     Palestinians and Israelis. Muslims and Jews. People who live twenty minutes away from each other, but in two completely different worlds. Since ancient times, conflict between Israel and Palestine  prevails in the grounds of the Middle East, causing hate, death, xenophobia, misunderstanding and war amongst people who are equal in humanity, but different in religion. Politicians have been trying to solve the issue, the United Nations  has intervened in the conflicts multiple times and people have been protesting for peace and equality, which has only taken Israel and Palestine to urge more wars against each other. Because of that, B.Z Goldberg, a peace activist and film producer, took a small step for the world, but a big step for peace, which changed the life of seven Israeli and Palestinian children. 

     In 2001, Goldberg released a documentary called Promises, which put Yarko and Daniel, two Israelis that live in Jerusalem and are secular Jews, Faraj and Sanabel, who live in a refugee camp in the West Bank, and are Palestinians and Muslims, and three other children, Sholomo, a Jewish rabbi and Moishe and Mahmoud, both Palestinians and Muslims, into contact with each other. Goldberg's goal was for the children to establish a communication with each other in order to become aware of a culture, religion and belief that was different from theirs, and thus learn to accept those differences in order to live in a world of peace, in which both Palestinians and Israelis could indeed share the same land.

     Throughout the documentary, B.Z shows the reality of the seven children, and their views towards the division of the land, religion, war and peace. All the Israeli children claimed that the land was theirs, and that no Palestinian had the right to live there. Some Jewish children, who were more extremist towards their religious views, even read excerpts from the Torah, which they claimed to be the proof that Israel belonged to them. Meanwhile, the Palestinian children claimed that the Israelis had occupied their land, and they wanted it back. Even though all of them considered themselves the owners of the land, they also wanted peace. Four of the seven children, Yarko, Faraj, Daniel and Sanabel agreed to meet each other in order to establish communication and give a step towards peace. 

     When they met, the children played games, danced, ate together, walked around the Palestinian refugee camp, learned about each other's culture and talked about the issue that involved their land. At the end of the day, all of them had realized, just by communicating with each other, that they were indeed twenty minutes away from peace and agreement, if only they could get all the Palestinians and Israelis to talk like they had done. The other three children, who did not agree to meet, kept their minds closed and their beliefs limited, while Yarko, Faraj, Daniel and Sanabel opened their minds to realize that the only thing that was different about them was their religion, and that the only thing that really kept them from living in peace was lack of communication.

     Promises made it possible for the world to see that sometimes, communication is the key to start solving extremely serious and impacting issues. Even though the establishment of communication among the children did not cause a huge change in the world, it did cause a huge change in their lives, making them leave aside their beliefs in order to fight for peace.