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Abstract or Description

In the following pages, you will find narrative stories about a Woman PeaceMaker, along with additional information to provide a deep understanding of a contemporary conflict and one person’s journey within it. These complementary components include a brief biography of the peacemaker, a historical summary of the conflict, a timeline integrating political developments in the country with personal history of the peacemaker, and a question-and-answer transcript of select interviews during her time at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

Robi Damelin is a spokesperson and director of the Women’s Group for the Parents Circle-Families Forum (PCFF), a grassroots organization of more than 600 bereaved Palestinians and Israelis who promote reconciliation as an alternative to hatred and revenge.

Damelin moved to Israel from South Africa, where she had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement, in 1967 following the Six-Day War (also known as the Third Arab-Israeli War).

In 2002 her life changed dramatically when her son David was killed by a Palestinian sniper near a settlement during his army reserve service. Her first words to the army officers who appeared at her door to tell her about David were, “You may not kill anyone in the name of my son.”

She joined the PCFF after David’s death. As a spokesperson, she travels with a Palestinian partner throughout Israel, the West Bank and internationally to share their stories and message of reconciliation. Damelin also returned to South Africa to learn more about reconciliation processes that have been in motion since the end of apartheid, a journey chronicled in the film “One Day After Peace.” The sniper who killed David was arrested in 2004, motivating Damelin to begin her own difficult path of reconciliation with him and his family.

As director of the Women’s Group of the PCFF, she works with other bereaved women to, as she says, “solidify our choice to use our pain to prevent further bereavement” and “strengthen women’s voices as facilitators of reconciliation in their communities.” The group’s exhibits — photography, culinary arts, embroidery and others — have traveled the world spreading messages of hope and co- existence.

Damelin is also a board member of the Charter for Compassion and initiated the Israeli Palestinian Narratives Project, “History through the Human Eye,” through the PCFF. She writes, “I continue on this path inspired by my deep sense of loss, my commitment to building a more peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians, and my endless love for David.”

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peacebuilding, Women PeaceMakers, Israel


Peace and Conflict Studies

WHAT COLOR ARE THEIR TEARS?  The Life and Work of Robi Damelin of Israel