Palestinian Wajee Tameise and Israeli Mashka Litvak donate blood together as part of the "Blood Relations" project.
By Paul Goldman, NBC News Producer
TEL AVIV – The grief and sorrow on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is torturous. Families from both sides have been left to mourn their lost loved ones after years of armed conflict. Young kids that died on the West Bank streets fighting Israeli soldiers and young Israeli kids that boarded a deadly bus not knowing a suicide bomber was sitting next to them.
It is natural for family members of victims to feel a mix of incredible emotions: anger, grief and a desire for revenge.
Out of all those emotions one amazing organization was born: The Parents Circle Family Forum. Its members all had immediate family killed in the conflict. But instead of hanging on to hatred and revenge, they have all worked to spearhead a reconciliation process between Israelis and Palestinians.
“We are unfortunately witnessing an acceleration process of dehumanization,” said Dr. Aliva Savir, a member of the Parents Circle Family forum. “There is an urgent need to stress the human dimension of this conflict.”
This week, while leaders from both sides are at the United Nations and the world is focused on the Palestinians bid for statehood, more blood was exchanged on the streets of Israel. But this time the blood was given willingly through intravenous tubes.
The family forum organized the “Blood Relations” project during which about 50 Israelis and Palestinian who had lost loved ones in the conflict donated blood.
Palestinian Wajee Tameise and Israeli Mashka Litvak sat next to each other while they made their donations. Tameise lost his brother to the conflict in 1991. Litvak also lost her brother, Arnon Litvak, who died during an army battle in 1970 and her father, Moshe Litvak, who was killed during the 1947 war for independence.
Their blood donations will be shared by both Israeli and Palestinian hospitals with the message "Will you hurt someone who has your blood running through their veins?"
“We want to be part of any future political agreement,” said Ali Abu Awwad, one of the project’s managers. “There is a need for an ongoing dialog towards peace, whatever the result of the Palestinian quest for an independent state is.”