Op-Ed by AFCP:
Our activists in Palestine and Israel have been very busy these last few weeks. One of our main focuses has been on youth and young adult programming. The Combatants spoke to University students in Palestine, high school students in Israel, and Rabbinical students from the USA.
Together with the Rabbinical students and Rabbis for Human Rights, Combatants for Peace activists planted olive trees on Palestinian owned land in the West Bank. This particular orchard has been slated demolition by the Israeli military in order to make room for settlement expansion. The landowner invited us to come in an effort to protect his land. The Military arrived just as the activists prepared to plant the new trees, and all the activists (and the land-owners) received tear-gas for our efforts. Nonetheless we were undeterred and managed to plant over 100 new saplings together.
Last Friday marked the first performance of the CfP Theater Group in 2019. Our theater group has been trained in “Theater of the Oppressed” an interactive modality founded by Augusto Boal, which uses theater as a form of education and activism. The Combatants use art, theater and storytelling as means of nonviolent activism to bring about both personal and societal transformation.
We also led a tour for Israelis to the Qalandia area of the West Bank. The Combatants brought the group to meet with local Palestinian families and hear their stories. Teaching Israelis about life under occupation and the hardships that their neighbors face is a powerful way to combat oppression and build a more just society. We firmly believe that understanding and compassion will lead us to transform the conflict and the occupation – and to create a world based on equality, human rights – and ultimately peace.