Can Israelis, Palestinians Learn From Srebrenica? – OpEd

CGNews,: By Einat Levi

As a Jewish Israeli, I had assumed that the Holocaust ceremonies that take place in Israel every year would have made me more immune to grief than others. I was wrong – being present at a ceremony commemorating the 8,000 Muslims killed in Srebrenica, Bosnia during the wars in the former Yugoslavia was particularly difficult for me. The thought that this massacre had taken place many years after the Holocaust gave rise to a terrible thought that perhaps we haven’t learned from the mistakes of the past.

I have observed that Israel continues to build walls and fences as a means to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But during my visit to Bosnia, I saw bridges being built across ethnic and religious divisions. The opportunity to connect with and learn from individuals dealing with a different conflict made me rethink how we might deal with conflict in our own Israeli-Palestinian context – and conclude that we, too, should build more bridges that connect the two sides.


Together with Jews and Palestinians, most of them American, I participated in a memorial service at the Srebrenica cemetery last year. During that ceremony more than 600 narrow coffins draped in green cloth were brought in to be buried. They carried the bodies of victims of the massacre who had been identified during the past year. The heat was intolerable and I was dripping sweat, unsure whether it was the heat or what I was witnessing.

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