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On “Within the Eye of the Storm” screenings in England


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Cease Fire! Words from the Israeli-Palestinian protest CFP held in Beit Jala

We're here today, Israelis and Palestinians, from both sides of the false wall dividing us, to urge our leaders to stop the bloodshed, stop the kil[...]


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Cease Fire! Words from the Israeli-Palestinian protest CFP held in Beit Jala
9 October 2012
Udi Gur

We're here today, Israelis and Palestinians, from both sides of the false wall dividing us, to urge our leaders to stop the bloodshed, stop the killing of civilians, and end the despair! Combatants for Peace was founded here seven years ago, by Israeli and Palestinian fighters. All of them realized that violence just spurs more violence, that the victors are the ones who look to the future, and put aside revenge for the past, that to bring peace for the children growing up here - we have to talk.

For seven years Combatants for Peace has been working to end the cycle of violence. Today we were planning to screen a film about the Wall. It would have been an event calling for reconciliation, freedom for the Palestinians, and security for us all. In the shadow of the Wall, and the despair felt by Palestinians and Israelis, we intended to meet and tell anyone listening to end the Israeli occupation and end the violence, on both sides.

But instead, we're walking - both sides together - to quench the despair separating us. To remind our peoples that it won't end until we talk. To remind our leaders - responsible for the fate of millions - that whenever they incite hatred, they are betraying their mission of building a future for the region. To constantly recall poet Yehuda Amichai's words - 'even a fist was once an open palm with fingers'. Fists can destroy, but hands can shake other hands, build houses, plant trees, hug a child…

We urge the government of Hamas to stop firing on Israeli citizens. You are responsible for the fate and future of Gaza's children. Violence won't bring Palestinian independence, only a non-violent fight can do it; the truly brave opt for non-violent resistance. Only a shared struggle against fear, despair, and hatred can lead to peace. Palestinians will never have freedom until Israelis have security. We urge the Israeli government to cease this election war. You're exploiting the violence against us so the public forgets that this is a bad government - devoid of hope and lacking a policy.

Don't repeat the horrors of four years ago that killed hundreds of civilians, 150 of them children. Stop the killing of children in Gaza! Lift the siege of Gaza - where half of the population is unemployed, and goods are not being exported. Stop building settlements, and the expulsions from Area C! Stop building the Wall that doesn't offer Israelis security! Stop the oppression of the Palestinian people! Choking the moderate leads to a cycle of violence with extremists. Stop the occupation! Resume negotiations with Abu-Mazen.

It's easy to destroy, much harder to build. And today it's seems easier to sink into despair and think that a war will solve the problem. But we've seen this movie enough times to know it's just another round in the unending cycle of violence. In the words of a man of peace, Rami Elhanan - there will be no security for Israelis without freedom for Palestinians, and no freedom for Palestinians without security for Israelis. I urge everyone to think about just one child - a son, sister, a nephew - and to stop the gunfire so we can build a future for all the region's children.


The writer is the former Bet-Lechem-Jerusalem CFP group coordinator and a member in the group