FORMER ISRAELI SOLDIER, FORMER PALESTINIAN FIGHTERin Concord NH as Part of Courage of Conscience U.S. SPEAKING TOUR
Synagogues, Churches, Mosques, Universities Hosting Their Viable Message of Peace
Concord, NEW HAMPSHIRE - On Thursday, March 12 at 7 pm,Palestinian former fighter Bassam Aramin and Israeli former soldier Yaniv Reshef, members of the Jerusalem-based Combatants for Peace, will speak at the Concord Unitarian Universalist Church, 274 Pleasant Street. The program will be introduced byNew Hampshire residentAndrea Leblanc, wholost her husband Robert on September 11th, and subsequently joined “9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows” to commit her great grief to projects of peace-building around the world.
Aramin and Reshef's visit to Concord is part of a U.S. speaking tour to share the work ofCombatants for Peace, a movement numbering over 600 former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian fighters, who now work together without revenge, using nonviolence to build justice, peace – and playgrounds.
Aramin,a former Fatah fighter wholost his ten year old daughter to an Israeli soldier’s rubber bullet and who served seven years in jail from the age of seventeen for planning an attack against Israeli soldiers, will speak about his choice to renounce violence.“Combatants for Peace is growing, forming new groups, committed to talk and work together in every situation, even in this tragic time of political extremism,” saysAramin,who was one of the original founders of Combatants for Peace. “We will not stop, we cannot let our peoples down.”
Mr. Reshef was a foot soldier in a sabotage unit of the Israeli Army who lives in range of Gaza missiles."Today, I draw the line not between Israelis and Palestinians," saidMr. Reshef, whose home in Israel is just 19 km from Gaza in an agricultural community that suffers frequent missile attacks."But between people who choose peace – versus those who pursue war and brutality."Mr. Reshefrecently helped organizeCombatants for Peacemeetings in the neighboring Israeli city of Sderot so that townspeople could hear his Palestinian and Israeli partners first hand. He is now building his house in Nir Akiva (lit. Akiva Meadows) the agricultural cooperative where he was born. Until 1948 this area was the Palestinian village of Kawfakha.
The tour, which runs from February 28 - March 28th, began in Boston and continues on to New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and Washington DC.
Aramin and Reshef will be awarded the Courage of Conscience Award on March 13th at the Peace Abbey, in Sherborn MA, accompanied by an exhibition of stitchery art depicting their work called “Piecing the Pieces” by Wash. D.C. artist, Amelie Porter. A Courage of Conscience Bus will take them and 70 peace activists to a briefing at the United Nations on March 17th. The art exhibition rejoins them in Congress in a special reception and presentation. They will be raising funds to build Abir’s Garden: a Safe Place to Grow,a playground project in memory of Bassam’s daughter Abir, to be built by the Combatants for Peace at the Si’ir School for Girls in the West Bank, where Abir’s cousins go to school.
The tour is sponsored by September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn their grief into action for peace, The Peace Abbey, a multi-faith retreat center that formed in response to a visit by Mother Teresa, and The Rebuilding Alliance, a nonprofit that rebuilds war-torn communities and makes them safe.
Full Tour schedule: http://RebuildingAlliance.pbwiki.com