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Combatants For Peace: Former Israeli and Palestinian Fighters Embark on Speaking Tour of US

January 14, 2008
10:43 AM

CONTACT: Combatants For Peace
Ateqah Khaki, Riptide Communications, 212-260-5000,

Former Israeli and Palestinian Fighters Embark on Speaking Tour of US
Combatants for Peace Mark First Anniversary of Death of 10-Year-Old Palestinian Child, Daughter of Founding Member

NEW YORK - January 14 - On Wednesday, January 16, Bassam Aramin and Yonatan Shapira, founding members of the Jerusalem-based Combatants for Peace (C4P), will launch a U.S. speaking tour aimed at educating Americans about the Israeli occupation and advocating for a non-violent resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. Combatants for Peace is a group of former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian fighters who have joined in solidarity to end the violence which has engulfed Israel/Palestine for generations. They have dedicated their lives to ending the occupation and seeking peace through non-violent means. They have also rallied in pursuit of justice following the killing of Abir Aramin, the ten-year-old daughter of Bassam.

Mr. Aramin is a former Fatah fighter, who served seven years in jail from the age of seventeen for planning an attack against Israeli soldiers. Mr. Shapira served as a Captain in the Israeli Air Force and later authored the 2003 “Pilot’s Letter” refusing to serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Exactly one year ago, on January 16th 2007, Abir was shot in the head by Israeli border police as she left school in Anata, near East Jerusalem. The soldiers said they were fighting with children who they claimed were throwing rocks. They said that Abir had been attacking them, but witnesses and an independent autopsy demonstrate clearly that she was shot with a rubber bullet in the back of the head while running away.

According to the Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem, 864 Palestinian minors have been killed since 2000 and not one case has been brought to justice.

Despite the death of his child and the additional pain caused by the allegations of the soldiers involved, Mr. Aramin continues his quest for peace supported by his Israeli and Palestinian comrades. “I'm not going to lose my common sense, my direction, only because I've lost my heart, my child. I will do all I can to protect her friends, both Palestinian and Israeli. They are all our children.”

The tour begins in New York City and continues on to Vermont and Washington DC. For the West Coast leg of the tour, Bassam will be joined by another founding member of C4P, Elik Elhanan, a former IDF soldier whose young sister was killed in a suicide bombing attack. They will also be raising funds for Abir’s Garden, a project designed to memorialize Abir and to provide a safe place for her classmates and community to gather, play and heal.

The tour is sponsored by The Rebuilding Alliance, a non-profit organization that rebuilds homes and communities in regions of war and occupation, as well as advocating for government policies in these regions based on human rights and international law.



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