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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace



Combatants for Peace Tour

January – February 2007

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom hosted a 22-city speaking tour with Sulaiman Al Hamri, Elik Elhanan, and Shimon Katz of Combatants for Peace in January and February of 2007.

About Combatants for Peace
Bios of Speakers
Tour Schedule
Tour Reports:
Combatants for Peace 22-City Tour Continues; Mourns Death of Founder's Daughter
Talking about Peace: A Tour Report

About Combatants for Peace

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.

* 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.

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.

Elik Elhanan
Elik is the Israeli coordinator of Combatants for Peace. He is familiar with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict both as a fighter and as a victim: from 1995 to 1998 he served as a soldier in an IDF combat unit. In 1997 his sister was killed by a Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem. “I have seen the damage the violence can cause,” he says. “I decided not to take part in that cycle anymore, and to work for peace through dialogue and joint activities with other Palestinians who think like me.” Elik believes that those who are dedicated to peace, social justice and equality—be they Israelis or Palestinians must separate themselves from those who profit from or believe in violence as a way of life. Elik is 29 years old and lives in Jerusalem. He is currently a student at Tel Aviv University.

Sulaiman Al Hamri
Sulaiman is the Palestinian coordinator for Combatants for Peace. His long history of peace work includes co-founding Combatants for Peace in April 2006, and working with other Israeli peace groups such as ‘Taayoush’. Sulaiman also recently participated in the Swedish Human Rights Forum as a guest lecturer. Sulaiman spent four-and-a-half years in Israeli prisons for his involvement in anti-occupation protests and demonstrations, before deciding to pursue a non-violent approach to resolving the conflict. Sulaiman is 42 years old and lives in Bethlehem. He has a Master’s degree in American Studies from Al-Quds University as well as a bachelor’s degree in social work and psychology.

Shimon Katz
Shimon served for four years as an officer in an elite IDF unit. After studying meditation in the Far East, he became interested in non-violent ways of living.

Tour Schedule

South
* Atlanta, GA – January 8
* Raleigh, NC – January 9

Northeast
* New York City, NY – January 10, 11
* Philadelphia, PA – January 12
* New Haven, CT – January 16, 17
* Northampton, MA – January 19
* Albany, NY – January 20
* Providence, RI – January 21

Midwest
* Detroit, MI – January 22
* Ann Arbor, MI – January 23
* Chicago, IL – January 25, 26, 27
* St. Louis, MO – January 28, 29
* Kansas City, KS – January 30

West
* Los Angeles, CA – January 31, February 1
* Santa Cruz, CA – February 2
* San Francisco Bay Area, CA – February 3, 4
* Portland, OR – February 5, 6
* Eugene, OR – February 7
* Seattle, WA – February 8, 9

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