At a time when both sides are convinced "there is no partner for peace," we have found otherwise.
Who we are
A unique network of local Palestinians and Israelis who have come to see each other as the partners we both need to make changes to end our conflict. Based on a mutual recognition of each People's connection to the Land, we are developing understanding and solidarity despite our ideological differences. Roots is a place where local peoples can take responsibility. Our work is aimed at challenging the assumptions our communities hold about each other, building trust and creating a new discourse around the conflict in our respective societies. This is a grassroots and local model for making change — from the bottom up.
Why we meet
Despite living so close to each other, Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank exist in almost complete separation, and both sides have little knowledge of each other's lives or humanity. Stereotypes are generally just reinforced by exposure to only the aggression of the other; whether through media or personal experience of violence and trauma.
Through our projects and workshops we create trust and partnership — the societal foundations upon which future political agreements can be built.
What we believe
By encouraging direct contact and deep communication between local communities we have seen transformation: stereotypes are replaced by an understanding of the other’s humanity, suffering, needs and roots. This greatly reduces fear and creates appreciation and support for each other. This groundwork of trust, safety and understanding is the foundation of any political solution.
The transformation undergone by those who have engaged with Roots has led them from apathy and frustration to responsibility and involvement.
Dialogue: Roots runs dialogue groups at least once a week between members of local communities. We know that there is great disagreement over many issues - over the facts of the past and the reality of the present; but we have found that effective dialogue is the secure place for argument, and leads to deeper understanding. It is in this space that solutions can be built and actions can be developed.
What motivates us
We are sustained by the unity and truth of our partnership. We are not a group of Palestinians or Israelis preaching to partners “over there”, but rather a united coalition of people across the divide willing to help and depend upon each other.
The stories that we have heard and the encounters that we have seen become messages of hope and resilience to our larger societies and counter the general despair and resignation of the conflict. We are inspired by incredible impact and influence that this work can have on our communities at large.
What we do
Initiatives: Roots is extremely active and carries out groundbreaking grassroots projects within and between our two communities. Our projects include a wide range of formal and informal activities and action, from interreligious discussion groups to a summer camp for children to community-wide meals.
Speaking: A large part of our work is bringing our experience and personal stories to new groups. We speak with various groups at the Roots Field and internationally with the aim to open and change the conversation around the conflict. To access media from past events or to find out about upcoming speaking tours in the US or Europe please look to our 'Speaking Tours' pages.