Growing up in a violent period of history in Bethlehem in the West Bank in the late 60s and seeing his father abused on a daily basis, Sami felt that he “had every excuse and justification to hate Israelis.”
Later on in life, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Sami asked himself some fundamental questions. "What makes our enemy our enemy? What shapes the mindset of our enemy? What made the Jewish community come up with this mindset of exclusivity – that they have an exclusive claim to the Holy Land and do not recognise the equal rights of others in and to the land."
That is how dangerous non-violence is," Sami said. And the event has shaped the course of his life. "We need to be able to understand what motivates us to make a decision for the future, to create a possibility for the future."
“My enemy was a group of people that had experienced continued threat, violence, discrimination and racism,” Sami said. “There was never a healing for the Jews. Both groups, the Jews and the Palestinians have a similar type of trauma – an existential threat to their existence – so they can never let their guards down."
"For the first time I began to see that peacemaking is not about making a political commitment, it’s a commitment to a deep healing of deep traumas. Until we do that we can never do peacemaking.”
Calling for a paradigm shift in peace and justice Sami, who established Holy Land Trust with Palestinian and Israeli peace activists, explained how his organisation tries to help people to look into the past with a different lens.
There was never a healing for the Jews. Both groups, the Jews and the Palestinians have a similar type of trauma – an existential threat to their existence – so they can never let their guards down.
"Can I make a decision that is motivated by the future that I seek - not the past that I experience?" It’s a question that Sami hopes to see answered with a “yes” in his lifetime.