The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Israeli and Palestinian former fighters start peace group together

with 2 comments

Here is the most heroic story you’ll read all day. I excerpt just a couple of comments from ever-excellent DemocracyNow! Do click thru to the whole story here.

Combatants for Peace

At tremendous price, a former Israeli Army pilot and a former Fatah fighter long imprisoned by Israel stand for peace and against revenge.

AMY GOODMAN: In the midst of this deepening crisis, I spoke to an Israeli and Palestinian peace activist: Yonatan Shapira and Bassam Aramin. They are from a group called Combatants for Peace that’s made up of former fighters from both Israel and Palestine. Bassam Aramin spent seven years in an Israeli prison, was an armed member of Fatah, the Palestinian political faction once led by Yasser Arafat. Bassam’s ten-year-old daughter Abir died one year ago after being shot by Israeli soldiers while she was on her way home from school. Yonatan Shapira is a captain in the Israeli Air Force and Black Hawk pilot squadron—well, he was. In 2003, he authored the “Pilots’ Letter,” refusing to participate in attacks against Palestinians. . . .

YONATAN SHAPIRA: [W]e decided that it’s important to refuse, but just refusing to be part of something illegal and immoral and just refusing to be part of war crimes is not enough. You have to try to fix the wrongdoing that you were part of. And then, with many other people who refused to military service and to be part of the occupation in the Israeli side and Palestinian ex-fighters in the Palestinian side, people who were many years in Israeli prisons, we formed this group, which we called “Combatants for Peace.” . . .

Bassam AraminBASSAM ARAMIN: [W]e start to think that we are more than sixty years fighting one each other, and no result. Israel is not safe, and Palestine is not free. And the majority from the both sides know that the final solution could be two states. And the big question is, why we are dying now if we know the solution even.

We must be very courage when we take our weapons, to be courage also to speak loudly what we believe. We know that this conflict cannot be solved in a military solution. It means we must find another way to fight against the occupation. We will never accept the occupation anyway. The Israelis must be responsible for their occupation. From this point came the idea of Combatants for Peace. We established this organization in 2005 by four Palestinians and seven Israelis. Now we are around 400 ex-combatants from both sides. . . .

[W]e try to convince the people that there is no choice. We must, in spite of our patterns of pain, we must talk together. We must fight together against the occupation, Israelis and Palestinians. This is the only way that we can create peace for our kids. . . .

Surely that is how societies change: from the bottom up, until governments reflect their wishes. But it must take enormous courage. For when you fight on the leading edge of peace, everyone sees you as the enemy.

God-speed, Bassam Aramin, Yonatan Shapira and fellow peace-makers!


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Written by Monte

January 22, 2008 at 5:39 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks, friend – you encourage me!

    Monte

    January 23, 2008 at 9:20 pm

  2. Thank you for highlighting this positive exemplar and for your own wise words, a personal stamp on the piece that made it even more wonderful and encouraging to read.

    Ann El Khoury

    January 23, 2008 at 1:20 am


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