In September 1993, on the lawn of the White House in Washington, an agreement was signed to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In the months leading up to the historic handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Norway had been instrumental in the negotiations. Mona Juul, Norway's Ambassador to the UK, spoke to the BBC World Service's Witness programme about being part of the team that planned and orchestrated the secret meetings that culminated in the signing of the Oslo Accords. Witness: The stories of our times told by the people who were there.
Hebron is the largest city in the occupied West Bank and is divided into two sectors, H1 and H2, controlled respectively by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli military. The kindergarten is located in H2, an area with a heavy military presence. The private kindergarten, created and maintained by Muhtaseb in a building adjoining her home, is supervised by local education officials, and Muhtaseb ultimately hopes to expand it to serve more Palestinian children. "When they see the soldiers patrolling the streets, this affects them ... When they see the checkpoints, the fence, everything, of course this makes them think that we are surrounded from everywhere," Muhtaseb said, noting the kindergarten offers the children a safe space to talk about their frustrations and their experiences with soldiers. She says her goal is to encourage children to resist the occupation in a peaceful way.