Subject: Combatants for Peace - Spring updates

"Don't talk about peace, we make peace!"
Combatants for Peace standing strong as violence escalates again.
Hi, Friend! 

Tensions have risen again, due to the upcoming Israeli elections in April. In response, we are doubling our efforts and expanding our programming. Nonviolent, direct action on the ground, workshops that build bridges and sharing our stories with hundreds of people from around the world have characterized this past month in our movement. 

Despite all the claims and slogans by politicians, we know that it is up to us to end the occupation, bring peace and build a better world!

That's what Combatants for Peace has stood for since its foundation: we are creating a broad community of people who do not surrender to despair, but rather who act together for the good of both peoples.
 
We are just weeks before our most influential event, the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Ceremony, which will take place on May 7th in Tel Aviv HaYarkon park. We expect 10,000 people to attend the Ceremony this year – making it the second largest Memorial Ceremony in all of Israel. But preparing for the Ceremony isn’t easy, and we need your help. The costs are exploding, as more and more administrative burdens are put upon us. Donate today and support our work!
 
Our newsletter below highlights our recent events and activities. We would love you to join us! Join the Israeli-Palestinian peace camp and become a true agent for change. We'd love to hear from you about your ideas and dreams. Please, be in touch!


In Peace & Solidarity,
from Israel and Palestine,
Combatants for Peace
What we have done in the last month:
Women in resistance 
New women group project

Just in time for international Women’s Day, our Women’s Group met for a 2-day workshop to welcome new members, strengthen personal bonds, and create new strategies for change. We also spent time talking about current gender-sensitive concerns in activism. Amira Hass, well-known Haaretz journalist gave a lecture about current issues and developments and we started to prepare for another round of nonviolent resistance to the occupation. Our Women’s Group provides a safe space for Israeli and Palestinian women to come together and speak openly and freely about their struggles. 
Sheperds in the bekaa
Protective presence in the Jordan valley

Life as a Palestinian shepherd isn't easy. You are constantly confronted by the Israeli army which has declared more and more areas restricted military zones, denying access to local shepherds and their sheep. Settlers routinely attack the flocks of sheep, and sometimes the Shepherds themselves. During the years, Combatants for Peace has created many connections with local shepherds in the Jordan valley, and has helped create a coalition which provides both a protective presence and legal aid. Whenever there is an incitement, the shepherds can call us for support. Through our presence we  serve as a protection for them, so they can stay with their sheep in their lands.
Eye-opening in Hebron 
Tour to the South Hebron Hills

Many Israelis have no idea about the reality of the occupation, or the experience of those living under it.  We offer tours to Qalandia, Bethlehem, Hebron, and many other ‘hot spots’ in order to educate Israelis and open people’s minds and hearts. We ask the difficult questions: where are settlements expanding? Is there any legal recourse for Palestinians whose homes are demolished? What does it mean to live in "C-Area"? And, most importantly, what can we do to show solidarity, express support and help affected Palestinian communities and effectively & nonviolently resist the occupation? The tours are eye openers for many Israelis, and many decide afterwards to join our movement!
House meetings 
Spreading the idea of coexistance

Since January 2019, we have met with more than 1100 youngsters from Israel and abroad in house meetings. Beside regular high schools, most of them are in so-called "Mechina"-Programs, educational groups preparing for their army services. We want to present them another view of the conflict, based on humanity and equality. For many of them, it is the first time to meet a Palestinian, others are confronted with walls, fences and checkpoints for the first time in their life. Our  longterm evaluation shows - youth take a lot out of this meetings, which influences their army duty in the future. 
Tour to the USA 
Palestinian speaker detained at JFK airport

American Friends of Combatants for Peace completed a tour in the USA this past February and March. We traveled through Boston, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Woodstock and Westchester. We reached hundreds of people with our message of peace, dignity and equal human rights for all. Osama Iliwat, our Palestinian activist who was scheduled to speak in the USA was unfortunately detained and deported from JFK Airport, and not able to join us on the tour. He had a valid visa and had been in the States several times before.... Nonetheless, the tour went on - and we brought Osama’s voice and presence into every program. His absence only amplified the importance of the work of Combatants for Peace and our mission of tolerance, acceptance and peace. If you live in the USA and would like to bring our activists to speak in your community, please contact us and we will be in touch!
TLV-Nablus group 
Solidarity & Legal Aid

Our Tel Aviv-Nablus group met with Palestinian community members who live close to the separation wall. They discussed ways that Combatants for Peace could be of support to the local community. Due to the separation wall, and several road blockades, the villagers cannot access their lands or move freely in their area. Combatants for Peace activists agreed to support them with legal aid and by lobbying on their behalf.
Olive trees for sumud 
Settlers burned our olive trees

The “South Group” in Combatants for Peace held a joint action with the organization “Rabbis for Human Rights.” They planted olive trees on lands owned by Palestinian farmers from the village of Um al-Kheir, in the South Hebron Hills. Last month, activists from CFP and Rabbis for Human rights planted olive trees in the same location but the military came and uprooted the young olive trees – so our activists went back and replanted them. The action supported Palestinian farmers in their hope to stay on their lands, instead of being pushed off in order to build more settlements. 
Preparations for the Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony

This year’s Memorial Ceremony is on May 7th, at 21:00 (Isr/Pal Time) in Park HaYarkon, Tel Aviv. You are very warmly invited to join us on this day of mourning, to share our grief together and create a new hope. You can also attend or organize a live screening of the event from anywhere around the world. Contact us for more information.
Combatants for Peace, Ushiskin 113, 47204, Ramat HaSharon, Israel
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