Tel Aviv - Israeli and Palestinian members of the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF), a joint Israeli/Palestinian organization for people who have lost an immediate family member in the conflict came together in Cinematheque Square, Tel Aviv last night to publicly donate their blood as a symbolic act of healing to mark UN International Peace Day.
Last week, a small group of the members came together to give the first blood donations at the head quarters of the Israeli Blood Bank, Magen David Adom to donate their blood.
The blood donations will be shared by Israeli hospitals through the Israeli Blood Bank, Magen David Adom and by the Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
On Wednesday 21 September the Shimon Peres Center in Tel Aviv will host an event to mark UN Peace Day, inviting dignitaries and leaders of key organisations in the region, ambassadors and the diplomatic community. A film documenting the blood donations will be screened alongside an exhibition, and a group of international, Israeli and Palestinian communications and media experts will conduct a panel discussion on the role of creativity and advertising in promoting the relations between the two nations.
The concept of blood relations was born out of an initiative called the 'Impossible Brief', a global challenge launched by Saatchi & Saatchi Israel in 2010. Creative minds from all over the world were invited to present ideas that would bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together. The winning idea from France, as judged by Palestinians and Israelis and announced at the Cannes festival of creativity in June this year, inspired 'Blood Relations'. The members of the Parents Circle Families Forum see this as the ultimate expression of reconciliation.
Ali Abu Awwad, Spokesperson and Project Manager said on behalf of the Parents Circle Families Forum: "Our long term vision is to create a framework for a reconciliation process to be an integral part of any future political agreements. It is incumbent upon us to stress the need for an ongoing dialog towards peace, whatever the result of the Palestinian quest for an independent viable state.
" ‘Blood Relations' seeks to provide a catalyst for dialog by demonstrating two peoples' shared humanity through the common bond of blood."
Dr Aliza Savir, Deputy Director General of The Peres Centre said: "Because of the prolonged conflict afflicting this region, we are unfortunately witnessing an accelerated process of dehumanization, and there is an urgent need to stress the human dimension of this conflict. This campaign conveys two major messages - first, the fact that we are all humans and have the same blood, and second - the fact that we all basically aspire to the same thing which is simply to live."
A memorandum outlining the ‘Blood Relations' project is being sent to all Heads of Missions attending the UN General assembly that opens on 20 September. The Parents Circle is already known to President Barack Obama and he publicly acknowledged them as an example of the desire for reconciliation in the region in his 19 May 2011 address on the Middle East. Their work has also been recognised by President Bill Clinton, President Carter, Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus and has received numerous awards including the Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award in 2010.
Yossi Lubaton, CEO of BBR Saatchi & Saatchi Israel said: "I am very pleased that the Impossible Brief project is entering its second year of activities. It's exciting to see how an idea conceived in an ad agency by creatives, which is just beginning to take shape, can influence people in the most profound way.
"The world of communications and of politics is changing at breakneck speed; we are witnesses to a revolution whereby the power has passed to the consumer, to the ordinary citizen. Things that were impossible to imagine less than a year ago are in full swing today.
"The motto we live by in all our work is that nothing is impossible. And surely the fact that, even during such a politically sensitive time, we are managing to launch the 'Blood Relations' idea in collaboration with the Parents Circle Families Forum and the Peres Center for Peace, is the greatest testament to that notion."
Visit www.bloodrelations.org for more information and to virtually donate.