Imagining Peace: A Conversation with Bereaved Families in Israel-Palestine

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Conversations on Israel & Gaza


Parents Circle is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization made up of more than 700 bereaved families. Their common bond is that they have lost a close family member to the conflict. But instead of choosing revenge, they have chosen a path of reconciliation. We will hear the stories of Israeli member and bereaved mother, Robi Damelin, and Palestinian member and bereaved mother, Laila Alsheikh, as they share their stories of loss and their unique choice of reconciliation.

About the Speakers

Laila Alsheikh lives in Bethlehem in the West Bank. In 2002, her 6 months old son, Qussay, became ill and Israeli soldiers prevented Laila from taking him to the hospital for more than five hours. Qussay soon died from the lack of timely treatment. 
Laila joined the Parents Circle in 2016. Following her son’s death, she never thought of revenge, but rather has devoted her time and energy to ensuring a better, more peaceful future for her children.

Robi Damelin, spokesperson and director of International Relations for the Parents Circle - Families Forum joined the organization after her son was killed by a Palestinian Sniper. All her work on the ground both in Palestine and Israel and internationally is geared towards non-violence and reconciliation as a means to end the occupation. Robi was named as a 2015 Woman of Impact by Women in the World. She regularly contributes to media outlets in Israel and abroad. Robi was invited to brief the Security Council at the United Nations in May, 2022.

This opportunity is a feature of the Conversations on Israel and Gaza program, hosted by the Provost’s Office and is moderated by Dr. Michael DeLand.



Gonzaga University

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Higher Education


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Imagining Peace: A Conversation with Bereaved Families in Israel-Palestine