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Combatants for Peace (V2)

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"Combatants for Peace" Director: Jehane Noujaim USA/Egypt Yonatan Shapira Co-Founder of Combatants for Peace Memphis, Tennessee In 2002, in the Summer, I went to rescue Israeli children after a suicide attack. On the way to the hospital, I saw underneath me a wedding. And I see all this while I know that in the back of my helicopter childern are dying now. And I remember how amazed was I from the idea that these people down there are so disconnected. Few weeks later, maybe two weeks later, I heard about an attack that was executed by an Israeli fighter plane. In Gaza Strip. The result of this attack, this bombardment, was that around fifteen people were killed among them nine children. And some babies. And I just couldn't believe that it's me, you know, it's not me personally, but it's my friends from the Air Force. I realized suddenly that there is no difference between the Israeli kids that were dying in the back of my helicopter on the way to hospital and the Palestinian kids that were killed by one of the Israeli Air Force pilots that dropped this bomb in Gaza. And I simply didn't want to be part of this cycle of violence, cycle of revenge anymore. Ramallah, West Bank Bassam Aramin Co-Founder of Combatants for Peace When I was 16, I was involved in a military group that shot at Israeli jeeps. I threw two grenades. And when I heard about ex-Israeli soldiers who want to meet Palestinians, they asked my friend, if he accepts to meet them. Directly, we say yes. The first time you are going to meet your real enemy, the same person who tortures you, who kills you, who arrests you, who damages your house, and you must shake hands with him and talk to him, and try to understand him even. And, I remember the feeling of going to the Palestinian Territories without rifle, without helmet, without helicopter or Army jeep or tank, protecting me. That was a very very strange and also frightening because you didn't know what, who are these people and what will they do to you and how will they react to what you have to say. But now they are coming alone, without weapons, without their units, without any soldiers, and they feel free. They feel very safe. This is the difference of the dialogue and this is the difference of the idea of Combatants for Peace. We met them and we started by telling our stories. We didn't start to talk about politics and to argue about facts and history and all this stuff. We started by telling who are we, where we came from, what happened to us. When I lost my ten year old daughter Abir in front of her school, the 16th of January 2007, after she finished her examination, by an Israeli border police, for nothing. It's very easy to revenge, but we refuse. Because we are a human beings. When you see the pictures of Abir, all the time I think that how could anyone, any human being, kill this beauty, kill this magic beauty of this little girl, for nothing. The reason I am emotional is that I have spoken many times about what I had done in the territories, but never in front of Palestinians and definitely not in front of peple I may have shot at. When I was 14, my friend and I stabbed Israeli soldiers. We were arrested. I was 14 and sentenced to 15 years, and my friend was sentenced to 18 years. We believe that the people who can change the situation are the fighters who have paid a personal price for their involvement. I still believe in the power our voice has inside our societies, to turn all those times when I crossed the red line and did things one shouldn't do, into something that will terminate the occupation. When I talk to them, I discovered that they are just human beings like us. They have children, they have fathers, they have mothers, they have sisters, they want to raise their children up, they want to live. Exactly, this is the thing what I want, what I need. And I think you cannot go back anymore once you meet your former enemy and you find out that it's just nice people that are very similar to you. And that we have more in common than not in common. We are fighting with words, with our voices, with our stories, not with weapons, this is the difference. And maybe the most important thing to say about that is that we want to set an example, a model, for people all over the world, people, especially in Israel and Palestine. That if we, who were bitter enemies and wanted to kill each other can now sit together, and struggle together, and share a common dream, everything in this universe is possible.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 22 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Director: Jehane Noujaim
Views: 7,414
Posted by: pangea on Apr 25, 2008

English, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles. This replaces the previous version of Combatants For Peace.

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