Dear Yossi,

I would like to thank you for putting the effort in writing this distinguished book with its meaningful message.  Communicating with and reaching out to the other side on the human level in order to bring peace and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims, is such an honourable work! 

Your book made me feel and understand your desperate need to live in permanent peace in this region, and this is my wish for you and your neighbors as well. 

What you wrote in this book touched both my heart and my mind. You presented to us the reality before and after the separation wall and you enriched our knowledge with information that I read for the first time in my life. Not to mention my appreciation for your crucial work in fulfilling that beautiful dream of Coexistence. 

This was my first impression after I read your first letter. 

The second letter was enriching as well. I felt like I was reading a story of someone who actually witnessed and lived through all of those difficult times. I found a lot of answers to many questions that I used to wonder about. You made me aware of the Israeli side and what they went through during those difficult times and it was important for me to know that but at the same time I felt that you were maintaining objectivity even in the tiny details, when you spoke about facts that had to do with both sides. I did not feel that you were biased even though you were telling us your story.         

I really felt the importance of understanding what happened in those difficult and crucial periods of time: The first Intifada, Oslo Accords and why it failed, the second Intifada in 2000 and post-Second Intifada. I felt how so many things deteriorated including, of course, the relations between the Palestinian and Israeli people. 

It is very important for us to know what you, Israelis, went through during those periods of time in order to better understand the way you perceive us, Arabs and Palestinians; why you fear our side, and why this fear stands behind a lot of the actions you take to protect yourselves.

 You explained to us about your suffering and pain in the past, and what I was amazed by was that you did not forget to talk about your neighbor’s pain while talking about your own.

I have not finished the book yet, but I felt your genuine intention to seek peace with your neighbors and help them in their aspiration to have their own independent state, for their sake and yours, so that they would live next to you and coexist in peace and security.   I know that you are a writer and not a politician, but I want you to know that your words have power as well. If we had more people like you on both sides, people who had that genuine intention and dedication to change the reality and bring peace, peace would become reality.

I believe that words have their own power to change and influence people, which is the first step in getting their support in working towards peace.  

You are presenting your book in such an interesting manner that I liked a lot! 

 I am currently reading the third letter, but I want to tell you that I am glad and proud to join you in your holy work by having the opportunity to read and send you my impressions. And I would like to use this opportunity to thank your staff for reaching out to me and inviting me to read the book.

Blessings

Duha Salem from Jordan


Dear Yossi,

In each and every letter you wrote a lot of information that was not entirely clear to me. There are things that I agree with and others with which I don’t, but I assure you that my disagreement will not turn me into an enemy.

The third letter, Fate and Destiny, revolves around this great achievement of building a modern new state, on one hand, strenghening the fundamentals of tolerance and coexistance within the Jewish society by embracing all those Jews who came from different backgrounds and created a melting pot that blends various cultures together. On the other hand, what the Jewish people had gone through, in terms of being dispersed all over the world, is similar to the Palestinians’ situation. I also want to thank you for your clear explanations about Judaism.
Regarding your fourth letter, Narrative and Presence, you have expressed your pride and Jewish patriotism for  finally having a country that is globally recognised. The independence that fills Jews with pride is also a catastrophe and a disgrace for Palestinians because they found themselves out of their land, were dislocated and became refugees, dispersed over many countries. I also want to point out that you are a kind person and humanity plays a big role in your life. You have expressed beautifully how you felt the Palestinians’ pain on this day (nakba). You were also very honest and objective when you described the events that took place between 1948 and 1967, and you have clarified some highly important facts.

The fifth letter, Six Days and Fifty Years, is very important to me as an Arab reader. Yossi, you were so honest here and spoke about some facts that none of us can deny but at the same time cannot dare speak about. Manipulating innocent people’s feelings and telling them to leave their homes until the war is over, or else the Jews will kill them, was a very dishonest and shameful trick coming from the Arab side. There are many people who can testify that they left without seeing any armed men or soldiers chasing me. On the other hand, i would have appreciated it if you spoke about and elaborated regarding what we know as the massacre of Deir Yassine.

In the end, the past should stay in the past, and we, the new generation, just want to live in peace and end all those conflicts and fights with Jews. Jews have suffered, Palestinians have suffered as well and we are tired of conflicts.
I hope and wish that both sides reach fair and just solutions.

Kindly,

Doha.