[BTvS-Detroit] COMBATANTS FOR PEACE IN DETROIT
Brit Tzedek v?Shalom is hosting a nationwide speaking tour with
Elik Elhanan and Sulaiman Al Hamri, the Israeli and Palestinian
coordinators, respectively, of Combatants for Peace.
They will be in the Detroit area JANUARY 22. The Detroit area
program is sponsored by Brit Tzedek, and Ameinu.
They will speak at CONGREGATION BETH SHALOM on MONDAY EVENING,
The Synagogue is located at 14601 LINCOLN IN OAK PARK, on the
South side of Lincoln between Greenfield and Coolidge. The
Congregation is the host for the event.
Elhanan and Al Hamri were active in the cycle of violence
involving the Israeli army and the Palestinian struggle for
independence. After brandishing weapons for so many years, and
having seen one another only through weapon sights, they have
decided to put down their 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 nonviolent 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."
They are working together:
To raise the consciousness in both publics regarding the hopes
and suffering of the other side, and to create partners in
To educate towards reconciliation and nonviolent 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
"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
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 nonviolence.
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
To participate in demonstrations and other nonviolent actions
against the occupation as a bi-national group. "
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
Ameinu: Liberal Values, Progressive Israel
Congregation Beth Shalom
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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 nonviolent approach
to resolving the conflict. Sulaiman is 42 years old and lives in
Bethlehem. He has a Masters degree in American Studies from
Al-Quds University as well as a bachelors degree in social work
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