On Wednesday, July 9th, 2014, before the commencement of operation "Protective Edge", PCFF members took to the Israeli "street" and set up a tent in the heart of Tel-Aviv - in the plaza of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The tent, whose pegs were listening, tolerance, empathy and an impulse toward reconciliation, almost immediately and very spontaneously, became known as the "Peace Square". For 70 Sisyphean days - the 50 days of the war and 20 more afterward - circles of dialogue took place among Israelis of diverse affiliations and an extremely wide array of opinions. PCFF members held vigil, coming every evening, setting up the tent and banners, putting out chairs and telling their stories to guests and passers-bye. Every such evening between 6:30-10:00 PM, The Peace Square hosted activities that aimed to promote peace and reconciliation between the two nations, to promote a peaceful and respectful discourse within the Israeli society. View the Peace Square here.
In its ten weeks of daily operation, the Peace Square hosted public figures, academics, social activists and representatives from the southern-Israeli communities of Sderot, Bror Hail and more. Public figures include Shaul Arielli, Naomika Zion (Another Voice), Adv. Talia Sasson, Prof. Aviad Kleinberg, Former Minister of Education, Yossi Sarid and Avi Davush from Bror Hail (near Gaza). As soon as permits were issued, Palestinian PCFF staff and members joined their Israeli allies and came to speak with the Israeli street - to hear and to be heard.
Even more notable, are the diverse opinions and representatives that found their way to the Peace Square, either by chance or with purpose, communicated their supporting or strongly opposing opinions and thoughts, and were heard. The Peace Square provided Israelis an opposition to the propaganda and hatred that ran rampant in Israel during "Protective Edge". While the shared Israeli and Palestinian vision of ending the cycle of violence seems illegitimate by many, the PCFF believes the Peace Square also served as a place of healing from the psychological and emotional damage this type of violence has on society.
International Day of Peace
Eight hundred people arrived on Saturday September 20th, 2014, at the courtyard of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque to observe the International Day of Peace. This moving event marked the 70th consecutive day in which the bereaved members of PCFF held vigil every evening, offering an opportunity for open dialogue to promote reconciliation and tolerance among peoples. Many of the participants in this event had attended the Peace Square during the ten weeks prior, and many more came for the first time to engage in dialogue with over 100 Palestinians, most of whom are from bereaved families. Throughout the plaza were scattered six "circles of dialogue", each facilitated by Israeli and Palestinian PCFF members and translators. The "open mic" was passed to whomever wished to talk, and thoughts, ideas and feelings were shared.
"Crack In The Wall" (CITW) Facebook Community: Peace Square activities were accompanied by a campaign on PCFF's Facebook community "Crack In The Wall". People were invited to join in the activities through the event page and received updates from the Square through the posts, videos and photos. Activities were promoted in part, with a modest budget, and achieved good results both in the number of people who came to the Square, as well as in impression data on Facebook. Post exposure record was 150 thousand people, and over 40 thousand people were exposed to an average post. As befitting the general atmosphere in the region, much of the responses were not favourable, yet many others were supportive. Not long after the commencement of the Square, the Israeli public began an online discourse in CITW - discussing posts and the comments, creating a group of people who are neither members of PCFF or known to the organization, but support its activities and taking it upon themselves to answer to opposing commenters.
The Peace Square today
PCFF operates the Peace Square weekly. For more information please contact us.
"A miracle for our time" - Watch PCFF "Peace square" video
Dror Prize, 2014 - Dror Sternschuss family and friends and NIF honored the PCFF for its "It Won't Stop Until We Talk" campaign including the "We Don't Want You Here" video clip and the PCFF Peace Square. December 23rd, 2014. The ceremony was held at the Peres Center for Peace, Tel-Aviv Jaffa, Israel.