We are a group of Palestinians and Israelis who 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.
1. Autonomy – CFP is a joint Palestinian-Israeli movement but it acknowledges the existence of two separate peoples within it. Thus, both sides in CFP have a certain degree of autonomy to manage their affairs in accordance with the movement’s creed and goals, but also based on political, social and cultural considerations of any of the two sides. Each side has the right to draw the attention of the other side to problems arising from its decisions or managing methods, but shall not effectively interfere with internal decision-making processes of the other side. This principal should be carried out as much as possible within the regional joint groups,
2. Active Dialogue – Disagreements between the two sides shall be bridged by constant dialogue that is premised on patience and tolerance. Indeed, being a bi-national movement CFP is based on dialogue, but it is not a dialogue group. The dialogue is means to consolidate the movement and make it into a powerful political platform, capable of influencing political reality.
3. Equality – CFP acknowledges that there is no symmetry or equality in the political situation in the region, as Israel is by far, the stronger party. Nonetheless, CFP challenges these power-relations and allocates equal power to Palestinian and Israelis within the movement. All non-paid functions in the movement are filled by an equal number of Israelis and Palestinians and all decisions must be approved by both sides.
4. Unequal Reciprocity – Since CFP believes that the occupation is the main source of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, we think our immediate goal is to end Israeli occupation. Nonetheless, we believe that the Palestinian side too carries responsibility for the conflict and its future. In accordance with this view, CFP activity is intended to affect both societies and to bring people from both sides to the recognition that the occupation and the violence is ruinous for the future of all. Yet, given the a-symmetry in power-relations, CFP shall put more effort in addressing the Israeli public.
5. Nonviolence – As CFP believes violence can create nothing but more violence, all activities initiated by the movement are peaceful by definition. CFP members shall not use physical force even when such force is used against them. Our task for this year is to better define a space in which Israelis and Palestinians can work together on the ground, and at the same time, not lose their contacts with the mainstream of their respective societies. It is important to stress that nonviolence does not mean passivity but rather, a mode of struggle that is intended to change the political reality.
6. Empowerment – The empowering of CFP activists so as to develop their leadership skills shall be not only a goal, but a principle that guides CFP’s daily work. In all fields of activity an effort shall be made to encourage members to take on responsibilities, fill out organizational functions and lead projects and activities. This principle is as valid to the local groups’ level, as it is to the level of the movement as a whole.
7. Voluntarism – CFP is a volunteer movement that relies on the energy and time of its unpaid activists. Nonetheless, we intend to hire professionals to fulfill several specific functions.
8. Inter-organizational Collaboration – CFP considers itself part of a larger peace front and seeks to play a leading role in consolidating this front into an effective political force. CFP shall actively search for collaboration opportunities with other organizations and will be responsive to suggestions coming from other organization.