As part of the grassroots organization The Parents Circle, Ali Abu Awwad, a Palestinian activist, travels frequently from his home in the West Bank to schools in Israel. The story he shares with the students is a painful one, but he does it in hopes of creating a dialogue supporting peace between young Israelis and Palestinians. In the above video, cameras from "Operation Change" follow Awwad to a school.
Awwad explains that his brother, at age 31, was stopped by a group of Israeli soldiers at the entry of the Palestinian village where they lived. Without cause, Awwad says, he was shot in the head and killed.
"My brother was not armed. He was not part of any action. He was such a beautiful soul," he says.
Awwad once took part in the First Intifada before becoming a pacifist, and tells the students that revenge was not the answer for him. "Thinking about revenge, I really couldn't see myself killing someone. Because causing someone the same price of pain that you've got will not ease your pain."
"And believe me, the Palestinian violence is not the result of hatred. It's the result of pain and suffering," he says. "As the same that I believe that the Israeli violence against us is the result of fear."
He asks the room of Israeli students: How many of you have met a Palestinian before?
Only one or two students say they have. "And we live like 20 minutes from each other," Awwad says. "So how can we really see peace?"
One student shares why it's difficult for him to see the Palestinian's side. "We have grown in fear that we can't go on a bus without it exploding," he says. "We can't hitchhike without someone kidnapping us. We've lost our security and when people lose their security, they get nervous. They get angry."
The students share their views, and Awwad shares his. "Without Palestinian freedom, Israel will not be secure," he says. "Without your security, I will not be free. I know that very well."