Combatants for Peace &

Hand in Hand Arabs, Jews show Jerusalem's best face(s)

30 May 2014


"In all peace building, political deals struck at the elite levels of society will last

only with wide civic engagement and buy-in among citizens of each community."

        ~ Ivor Jenkins

             Director, In Transformation  (Pretoria, South Africa)


"We were together.  I forget the rest."

        -- Walt Whitman, poet


This Memorial Day 2014 recalled the conclusion of our decades-old guest editorial:


"I cannot put out of my mind a line from Herman Wouk's War and Rembrance: 'Either war is finished or we are.'

The greatest memorial to war is to end it."


READ all the words from 1987's published appeal:


Mankind needs to end the wars

that have ended so many lives

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Palestinian and Israeli combatants shift
from guns and knives to friendship

Sulaiman Khatib, Ramallah, spent 10 years from age 14 in an Israeli prison for stabbing an Israeli soldier.
Avner Wishnitzer, Jerusalem, served in the IDF's Sayeret Matkal unit which conducts deep reconnaissance and counter-terrorism across borders.

Today both are members of Combatants for Peace --
These former armed adversaries create alternative ceremonies to memorialize one another's people killed in violence.
Avner and Sulaiman have useful insights about their life experiences of going to the other side and sharing life.

Q: How have you overcome prejudices or fears to reach dialogue?

  There are lots of things that can help -- language, cultural exchange, personal experience, and friendships. But the best way is meetings.
I slept in Palestinian houses or with Palestinian room-mates in different workshops.  We were as afraid of them as they were afraid of us in the initial meetings.

Q: How is the alternative memorial event part of that dialogue?

  Official ceremonies talk about casualties, war, the sense of loss, sacrifice. . .and we don't want to replace them, but we want to offer an alternative that makes us think harder and feel harder. . . feel for somebody out there on the other side. . .move on from Memorial Day to the rest of the year.
  Even if they're soldiers or they killed people as well, they're still victims. . There are some people who don't think the ones from the other side deserve life. They don't see the other side's victims as human, with normal feelings and family and mum and kids and everything. In general, everyone thinks of their own victims.  We also to tell the stories of people's transformation. It's not just victims. The message is that dying and fighting is not destiny. The idea of Combatants for Peace is that we take destiny into our own hands. Our destiny. We are not waiting for governments, or talks, or outside power, or God to make change here.  Its about taking actions so that next year we won't be standing in the same place mourning more casualties.

Q: What gives you hope to keep moving forwards?

  I'm not sure it's hope that keeps me going. It's that feeling of duty. I can tell you what gives me power to do it: first of all, the people that are doing it. So to interact with Sulaiman and to be able to understand each other. . . I know Palestinians now. It's a never ending process. I go on learning and learning and learning.
SULAIMAN:  There is no one way, but you, by yourself, can be a model of change. And this gives hope for many other people. They see a human in front of them.  Basically, when you hear the stories of other people, other narratives. . .your system changes. . .I do something, and I see people change. . .and I don't see any other option. The other option is just frustration and pain.
See their PHOTO and MUCH MORE:


From guns and knives to friendship

by Rosa Lia

Palestine-Israel Journal -- 22 May 2014

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Jerusalem's Best Face(s), Best Story:
Arab and Jewish Youth of
Hand In Hand Schools

Neither technology giants nor military brigades were first to welcome and impress Pope Francis entering Jerusalem.
Rather 30 Palestinian and Jewish youth -- Muslims, Christians, and Jews -- joined Mayor Nir Barakat on Mt. Scopus as the first welcoming faces of Jerusalem.

The multi-faith girls and boys were from the Jerusalem Hand in Hand school --
They learn and grow closer at one of five campuses where students study together, including each another's languages and traditions, with a Jewish and Arab teacher at the head of each class.
Families also participate heavily to create strong, exemplary communities to illustrate education and life in the coming epoch of coexistence -- humankind's new story.
See their PHOTO and FULL STORY:


Pope greeted on Mt. Scopus by

Jerusalem Mayor Barakat, schoolchildren of many faiths

The Jerusalem Post -- 26 May 2014

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2014 Jerusalem Youth
Cross Border Arts Festival

March 04, 2014, the 2nd Annual Cross Border Youth Arts Festival came alive at the Tantur Ecumenical Center, on a hill in Jerusalem near Bethlehem.
The Seeds of Peace Women of Action
-- visionary adult guides -- helped the Jewish and Palestinian youth exhibit visual and performing arts that were "simply amazing."

"They were so amazing, in fact, we couldn't given them back,"
wrote coordinator Karen AbuZant, from Tulkarem, West Bank, Palestine.
"We have decided to curate the collection, and have showings in the West Bank and Israel."

Music in Arabic, Hebrew, and English was offered by the youth of Ukuleles For Peace --
That day,  the adults and youth of excellence were answering life's persisting questions:

        1.  How can we diminish distrust between the societies?
        2.  How can we--as simple citizens--create more opportunities for Jews and Arabs to meet and be involved with one another in our daily lives?

SEE FILM of the experiential festival and some of the artwork:



04 April 2014 -- Jerusalem

6-min video by Victor Carpentier


Palestinian and Jewish youth showed what life can be like together -- Muslims, Christians, Jews engaging and painting their own original artwork in vibrant colors, powerful symbols, being together in real life experience that day.
Palestinian Coordinator Karen AbuZant receives e-mail at

See PHOTOS and the full STORY:


Finding a Different Way to Seek Peace:

The Second Annual Cross-Border Youth Art Festival

Palestine-Israel Journal -- 19 May 2014

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USEFUL GRAPHICS for Change, Communication,
and Relationships for Peacebuilding

Usual Communication vs. Dialogue's Listening-to-Learn
(in Arabic, Hebrew, French Russian, and English)

Ressources de dialogue en frans  ~  Dialogue Resources in French

Human Relationship-deficiency Virus - HRV
(a killer worse than HIV/AIDS)
English --
French --
Russian --

The Public Peace Process ~ Graphics on Communication, Relationships, and Change
(Arabic, Hebrew, English)

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These and hundreds of other success stories are preserved at