Friday, July 23, 2010

Riz Khan on Combatants for Peace

I follow Riz Khan's (the smooth operator!) interactive Al Jazeera show almost religiously but last night felt a special connection because this episode's topic was the Israeli/Palestinian organisation Combatants for Peace (CfP), which is actively supported by Alex Stein, owner of the now dormant False Dichotomies blog, occasional contributor to Ha'aretz, author of possibly the only Harry's Place post on I/P worth reading ('Mr Netanyahu goes to Washington') and Internet Zio pen pal.

On the show, fairly carefully chosen CfP members Bassam Aramin and Elik Elhanan, both ex-combatants in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, both having suffered also very close personal losses as a result of the quagmire.

As regards CfP purpose and mission in life here's their vision.

We are a group of Palestinians and Israelis who have suffered greatly and have taken an active part in the cycle of violence in our area; the Israelis as soldiers in the IDF and the Palestinians as combatants fighting to free their country, Palestine, from the Israeli occupation. In a joint Israeli-Palestinian initiative, Combatants for Peace was founded based on the following principles:
  • We are convinced that the conflict cannot be resolved through military means exercised by either side.
  • We believe that only through joint action can we break the cycle of violence and end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
  • We call for the foundation of a Palestinian state, the capital of which will be East Jerusalem and based on the borders of the 4th of June, 1967. The Palestinian state will reside side by side with Israel, and a relationship based on peace and security will exist between the two states.
  • We choose to participate in a non-violent struggle in order to achieve our goals. We call for people from both sides to join us in achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • We call for leaders from both sides to take a brave step forward and initiate a serious negotiation in order to end the conflict, to desist from taking one sided steps and to stop building the settlements in the west bank and in east Jerusalem, whose hidden goal is to perpetuate the conflict and block any chance for real peace.

I could criticise: I could tell Alex, Bassam and Elik for instance that at a growth rate of about a hundred members a year, it's a slow boat to China. But I'm not going to. These are brave and good people and I wish them all the best in their endeavour.

As regards the show, it was well worth watching, with some interesting interaction from viewers too. Watch it here:


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