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Exchange between Israel and Palestine – reconciliation possible?

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Palestinian group Hamas on Tuesday traded a captured Israeli soldier for hundreds of prisoners in Israel in an elaborately choreographed swap. There was great joy on the streets of Gaza, the West Bank and throughout Israel. Buses of long-held prisoners rolled home to freedom and loved ones; the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, 25, emerged from the darkness of more than five years in captivity in Gaza into the arms of his parents. People wept.

But that was not the mood among the great majority of participants. Each side accused the other of mistreating its prisoners. Hamas official said their members had been subject in Israel prisons to torture, compulsion and revenge. Israelis who lost loved ones to Palestinian violence said the deal was justice undone and capitulation to a sworn enemy. Hamas quickly called for its members to capture more Israeli soldiers in order to free the remaining 5,000 or so Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. “We must take a new Shalit each year until the Palestinian prisoners are free,” asserted Wafa al-Bass, a 26-year old Gazan who walked free on Tuesday. She had been convicted of trying to smuggle a suicide belt into Israel in 2005 while using a pass granted her for hospital treatment.

Shalit Gild himself commented on the release of the Palestinian prisoners: "I will be happy for them to be released if they don’t return to fight us. I very much hope that this deal will advance peace.”

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On the issue of the prevailing conflict between Israeli’s and Palestinians we would like to recommend you the following films which can inspire change and reconciliation:

Promises (2001) by Carlos Bolado and B.Z. Goldberg

Several Jewish and Palestinian children are followed for three years and put in touch with each other, in this alternative look at the Jewish-Palestinian conflict.

The Heart of Jenin (2008) by Marcus Vetter

The Cinema for Peace Award winning film tells the story of Ahmed Khatib, a Palestinian boy shot by Israeli soldiers. His father decides to donate his son's organs to Israeli children as a gesture of peace.

Tears of Gaza (2010) by Vibeke Lokkeberg

In a rough style, by way of unique footage, the brutal consequences of modern wars are exposed.

After the Silence (2011) by Stepahnie Bürger and Jule Ott

Shadi Tobassi, a suicide bomber from Jenin, blows himself up in an restaurant in Haifa, killing 15 people. Among those killed was Dov Chernobroda, an Israeli architect, who for his entire life had tried to bring about a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine. His widow meets family Tobassi and embraces them in a unique gesture of peace - in the film and at Cinema for Peace 2011 in Berlin.