CHAPTERS
    Personal stories Rami Ben-Ari
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    Rami Ben-Ari

    Kiriyat-Uno

    I grew up in a place that saw peace and human rights as higher values.

    During the first Lebanon war, as part of my role as a combatant in an elite unit, I entered a Palestinian house in a refugee camp around Tyre. The man was wearing around his neck an old rusty key to his old home in Jaffa from which he had been expelled. I realized he knew that he would never return there. It was an enlightening moment. After I was injured, I realized that I would never return to the battlefield again.

    After a break, Operation “Protective Edge” in Gaza in 2014 prompted me to become active again. This time I sought a framework to operate in, different from my activity as a member of Peace Now. I felt that it is not enough to be a member of an organization that mostly talks about the situation; I sought to be active in a way that addresses the conflict’s core, touches people, and does work on the ground.

    When I heard about the joint Israeli-Palestinian Remembrance Day ceremonies, I was conflicted. To me it was a sensitive topic. I went anyway. What captivated me about it, unlike other movements, was the equal activity and the choice of non-violent struggle. I felt that this movement was the joint home for Israelis and Palestinians.

    My participation in Combatants for Peace comes with a price, mostly from friends and family who stopped talking to me because they do not understand or do not agree with my opinions and actions. I am very sorry about that, but I am willing to pay the price. I believe that Palestinians need to get their rights as a people. The Occupation, and everything that it entails, is destroying us as a nation and as humans. The personal price I pay is mostly proof that we have a long path to tread together, and that this path is a way of life, not a political stance.

    I devote a part of my time to activist action in the movement, and, among other things, I document (photograph) the different activities and events.

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