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Israeli documentary captures citizen reconciliation – and encourages more

'Encounter Point' gives those affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a chance to see people on both sides talking and listening.

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With Kassam rockets falling more often than rain, this is a town where it would be easy to give up hope.

But four young women – an Israeli-Canadian, a Palestinian, a Jewish-American, and a Brazilian – want to present a different picture. The result is "Encounter Point," a new documentary being shown in theaters around Israel and the US. It's set to be aired across the Arab world on Al Arabiyah satelliteTV.

For viewers here or anywhere else in the region or world affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the film is a chance to hear those on both sides not just talking, but listening.

"Encounter Point" is indeed a movie with a mission of fostering dialogue, in large part by discovering that many Arabs and Jews who have lost immediate family members are already engaged in the conversation, despite what seems like a rising tide of hostility.

The film profiles real yet extraordinary Israelis and Palestinians, some who meet regularly as part of the Bereaved Families Forum or with other groups that promote reconciliation. These meetings show that at the heart of the war zone, people are going to great lengths to meet one another – and to convince their countrymen to give peace another chance.

"We are hoping that 'Encounter Point' can be the beginning of some constructive communitywide dialogue," says producer Nahanni Rous, a Jewish-American woman who grew up in New Hampshire, spent several years in Israel, and now lives in Washington.

"This spring, throughout the US, we will start to make the film available to communities to organize their own screenings, and to get Arab and Jewish groups to cosponsor the events and have a dialogue together. It's the start of talking to each other."

Wednesday, the film is to be shown at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.


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