They said the two-state solution is no longer relevant, that we cannot evacuate settlements, that there is ‘no partner for peace.’ Then I heard Iyad speak to a group of Israelis in a Tel Aviv bar.
By Yael Burstein
Neither of us could hide our excitement as he stood up to speak before a crowd of over 120 young Israelis in a Tel Aviv bar. While in his childhood Iyad Othmani was forced to wait for hours at checkpoints, while soldiers made sure over and over again that he could cross to go to school, on this night — he was the keynote speaker.
We worked for months to ensure that Iyad could come speak before Israelis — what we believed would help break a few bricks in the wall, and look past this Green Line that everyone is always talking about, yet do not know where it is located, what it symbolizes, and why the hell it’s green in the first place.
I met Iyad for the first time at a meeting organized by Geneva Initiative activists in Jerusalem. I understood that we know so little about what is happening on the other side of the Green Line, and that if only we could understand the real difficulties plaguing the other side on a daily basis, perhaps we would be able to cause things to turn out differently, to cause people to think differently.
Things we do not know
They say that millennials are focused solely on themselves, that we are always looking at the screen, that we no longer believe in that concept that the “adults” have been talking about for years — we long for it, yet we do nothing to advance it. But the participants who came to hear Iyad talk about his life in Ramallah as a young Palestinian proved otherwise. With patience and hardly any interruptions from the audience, with smart questions and a real desire to learn and know, we laid the cornerstone of a bridge that will be built over the gap of narratives.
While 70 percent of young Palestinians claim no political affiliation, Iyad heads three different projects with the goal of sounding more and more Palestinian voices calling for the end of the conflict and separating into two states, based on the Geneva Initiative. When over 20 percent of the 2.9 million Palestinians are unemployed and 14...Read More