Bassam Aramin 

Hebron
Aramin did not join Combatants for Peace after Abir, his 10 year-old daughter, was
killed from IDF fire at the entrance to her school.

He was already a founding partner in Combatants for Peace in 2005, two years prior,
after imprisonment in Israeli prison, where he served a 7-year sentence for planning
an attack on IDF soldiers.
Since then, and even after the horrible tragedy that befell his family, he did not hold a
weapon. His childhood in Hebron was intertwined with scenes of pain: soldiers
invading houses, children-friends killed by his side. From that, grew a strong urge for
revenge.

In the young organization they established they called themselves “freedom fighters”;
the rest of the world called them terrorists. From stone-throwing they moved to
grenade-throwing on Israeli jeeps. At the age of 18 he was sentenced to seven years
in prison.

During the height of an incident where he was humiliated and beaten by his guards,
he recalled a movie about the holocaust that he once watched. He remembered that
he was first happy about the murder of Jews, but he also remembered that he was
later brought to tears by the pain he felt for them.
He made sure to hide his tears from his friends, who would probably not understand
his pain for the occupier oppressing him. Entangled in his emotions, he decided to
try and understand who the Jews are and what motivates them. His main source of
information was his guard.

From the complicated conversations between them grew a friendship, and it
deepened the mutual understanding. An insight surfaced quickly: the only way for
peace is nonviolence.

His release came near the time of the Oslo Accords. However, when disappointment
outplaced hope, a group of Israeli and Palestinian activists who believed in
nonviolence started secretly meeting. That’s how Combatants for Peace was born.
 But Bassam’s commitment faced a great test – the killing of his daughter, which no
one took responsibility for or apologized. However, Bassam did not choose revenge
and going back to violence.

“After all”, he says, “one soldier killed my daughter, but one hundred ex-soldiers built
a garden in her school and named it after her.”
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Personal stories of Palestinians and Israelis who had been a part of the violence or witness to it. Yet they all made the choice to walk the path of non-violent activism and partnership.
Personal stories of Palestinians and Israelis who had been a part of the violence or witness to it. Yet they all made the choice to walk the path of non-violent activism and partnership.