• More Than Just Words

    For evil to triumph, it only needs that the good do nothing.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

    The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

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Combatants for Peace

When it comes to examples of conflict that demonstrate the need for new strategies which focus on reconciliation and understanding, the situation in Palestine comes top of the list. In that environment the emergence of individuals and groups who have adopted new strategies really stand out as examples of what can be achieved by anyone willing to step outside the box and create new ways of resolving conflict. Combatants for Peace is one such shining example.

In their own words:

The “Combatants for Peace” movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, we have decided to put down our guns, and to fight for peace.

WE BELIEVE

That only by joining forces, will we be able to end the cycle of violence, the bloodshed and the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. We no longer believe that it is possible to resolve the conflict between the two peoples through violent means; therefore we declare that we refuse to take part any more in the mutual bloodletting. We will act only by non-violent means so that each side will come to understand the national aspirations of the other side. We see dialogue and reconciliation as the only way to act in order to terminate the Israeli occupation, to halt the settlement project and to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, alongside the State of Israel.

WHAT ARE OUR GOALS?

  • To raise the consciousness in both publics regarding the hopes and suffering of the other side, and to create partners in dialogue.
  • To educate towards reconciliation and non-violent struggle in both the Israeli and Palestinian societies.
  • To create political pressure on both Governments to stop the cycle of violence, end the occupation and resume a constructive dialog.

HOW DO WE OPERATE?

Since the beginning of 2005 we have been organizing meetings between Israeli and Palestinian veterans, in which both sides tell about the violent actions that they have taken part in and about the turning point which led them to understand the limits of violence. Naturally, these meetings were fraught with many fears, however we soon learned that despite years of fear and hatred, there is more that unites us than divides. Therefore we have decided to act together in the following ways:

  • To continue with the combatants’ meetings, which allow each side to understand the other’s narrative, via the approach of reconciliation rather than conflict.
  • To implement an educational lecture series in public forums on both sides (universities, youth groups, schools etc.). The lectures will be given jointly by an Israeli and a Palestinian veteran, who will concentrate on the transition from violent struggle to the recognition of the limits of violence.
  • To create joint projects which educate towards non- violence.
  • To create joint frameworks in order to become familiar with the culture, history and current needs of the other nation.
  • To set up Bi-National media teams, which will act in order to influence public opinion in Israel, Palestine and the rest of the world.
  • To participate in demonstrations and other non-violent actions against the occupation as a bi-national group.
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