This is a story that alternates between despair and hope, one strewn with disappointment. It is also a story of women who tried to establish a bridge of rapprochement, understanding and coexistence, and discovered how brittle and fragile the foundations were.
It began about three years ago with the women of Machsom Watch (Checkpoint Watch), a nongovernmental organization of Israeli women objecting to the movement restrictions imposed on Palestinians by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) checkpoints. The women wanted to deepen their activities within Palestinian villages in Samaria after two large IDF checkpoint crossings, Hawara and Beit Iba, were dismantled. Two veteran members of the organization, Dvora Oreg and Ra’aya Golmov, offered to organize English study groups for female Palestinian residents. Since those classes opened, Israeli-Palestinian relations have known many ups and downs. Every shock wave, such as the Protective Edge campaign in July and August of 2014, put another crack in the bridge they labored so hard to build.