Gawerc, Michelle I. “Advocating Peace During the 2014 War in Gaza.” Peace Review 28.1 (2016): 108-13.
During the cycle of violence leading up to the third Israeli War in Gaza, some Israelis from Parents Circle/Families Forum (PCFF) – a peace organization consisting of Palestinians and Israelis who have lost a first-degree relative in the conflict – came together to discuss the events. While the Palestinian members could not join the meeting because of the closure of the West Bank, which the Israeli military imposed as a reaction to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, the Palestinian Co-General Manager of the organization was aware of this meeting of the Israeli members and approved.
In the period following the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, the Israeli military had closed off large sections of the Israeli-occupied west Bank, made four hundred and nineteen arrests, and raided twenty-two-hundred homes in the Hebron area. At least eight Palestinians were killed in this military operation – including the best friend of one of the Palestinian staff members.
During the meeting (which transpired before the dead bodies of the Israeli teens were found, and before the abduction and brutal murder of a Palestinian youth from East Jerusalem neighborhood by right-wing Israelis) one old-timer frantically noted that the situation was only going to get worse. While they discussed what they should do, one member suggested that they should sit in the middle of Tel Aviv every day in order to face, head-on, the hatred and anxiety manifesting itself on the streets until the current cycle of violence subsided. While they did not know how people would respond or for how long they would be sitting outside, they moved forward with the arrangements to set up what they call “The Peace Square.” Ironically, on the day that they received permission from the Tel Aviv municipality and the Israeli police, and secured a place to set up their Peace Square, the war began.