We are 30 Jews, Palestinians and supportive others dedicated to meeting monthly in each otherís living rooms, hearing one anotherís stories, practicing compassionate listening, and envisioning our shared future. In Dialogue, we seek to promote a model for healing, creativity, and cooperation for Palestinians and Jews in Israel and Palestine, and for other peoples worldwide.
Palestinians and Israelis live side by side, in cooperation and friendship, in an ever-improving Middle East and at the heart of a growing partnership between Jews and Palestinians worldwide.
The Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo was formed as a local response to a global call for a public peace process between Palestinians and Jews everywhere as a creative citizen response to a long, agonizing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East.
In May 1991, some of us helped bring a small team of Palestinian and Israeli citizen-leaders from the Middle East to a week-long conference in the California redwoods. These women and men forged and signed a historic document, Framework for a Public Peace Process, calling for concerned citizens of both communities to join in Dialogue. It prescribed an invigorated peace process that would succeed where governments alone had failed, by including and empowering those who would benefit the mostóordinary citizens.
In July 1992, to bring this public peace process to life locally, several of the conference hosts recruited a small group of Jews and Palestinians who were willing to come together in a living room to share their stories and begin building bridges of understanding. The Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group was born. The first meetings revealed both peoplesí genuine pain, struggles, and fears. The gatherings also began to reveal a sense of shared hope and even community. Over many meetings, compassionate listening helped to transform suspicion into friendship, antagonism into understanding, and conflict into cooperation.
Ten years of sustained Dialogue have demonstrated the success of Palestinians, Jews and supportive others working as a team toward a shared future. We have grown to 30 participants and have helped launch many similar Dialogue groups locally and across North America. By proving and communicating the effectiveness of Dialogue in conflict resolution and community building, these groups are setting the stage for Dialogue and peacemaking in the Middle East. We have initiated dozens of educational activities and projects benefiting both peoples ó always equally. With the understanding that "people become the stories they hear and the stories they tell," we have told our story extensively through local, national, and international TV, radio and print media, and over the Internet. This success story has enabled us to work increasingly with government and civil society to make Dialogue integral to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Through ongoing meetings, education, publicity, and individual political expression, we continue to advance Dialogue as a powerful and essential force in ending alienation and creating genuine community and peace.