Combatants for Peace

April 19, 2017

Combat Peace

Combatants for Peace was founded in 2005 by former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian militants who decided to collectively put down their weapons and nonviolently fight for peace after connecting to the personal stories that they all shared with one another. Now it is led by at least 14 leaders from the Palestinian perspective and 17 leaders from the Jewish Israeli perspective, coming together to create a third space where they can find a new means for peace. Combatants for Peace believes that only through partnering together through nonviolent means will the bloodshed, settlement project, and overall occupation end. They seek to educate toward reconciliation and nonviolent struggle in both Palestinian and Israeli societies, and to pressure both authorities to terminate violence, end the occupation, and begin a constructive dialogue.

Below are two examples of some of the leaders, which can all be found on the group’s website here: Combatants for Peace.



Oren Kalisman was in the Israeli army as a lieutenant and then as a platoon commander, and he grew up becoming used to ignoring the Arabs’ presence in Israel. However, he slowly began to turn against the Israeli side, and the tipping point was when one Palestinian shot and killed one Israeli Jew, and in return the army killed 15 Palestinian police officers in revenge. After this event, he participated in “Breaking the Silence”.

SulimanSuliman al-Khatib is a Palestinian Arab who, at a very early age, joined the “Fatah” movement against the Israeli Occupation. After an occurrence where he stabbed Israeli soldiers, he was sent to jail for 10 years, and there he joined multiple groups, participated in discussion, read, and realized that there were many more narratives than he was first taught. He believes there is no military solution, only a joint, nonviolent struggle for peace, freedom, security, and human rights for all.

Combat Protest

A picture of Combatants for Peace at a protest staged by one of its regional bi-national groups.

Combatants for peace is based off of regional bi-national groups, each headed by one Israeli and one Palestinian coordinator.


One of the projects that they work on is doing an area tour of Bethlehem to see the separation wall, as seen above, to hear tales from local villagers, show participants the reality of the Occupation, and to see Combatants for Peace activists at work. These tours occur monthly, and afterwards is a talk between all participants from all sides and nationalities. This is one of the most direct creations of a third space here, an opportunity to inform and cross boundaries that might not have been breached before.

Every year the group, associated with other organizers, puts on a Memorial Day Ceremony in order to mourn the lives lost and give hope towards reaching a united goal, trying to break the barriers of the ideals so strongly held on both sides that push people to try to find solutions that do not align with the reality of the situation. The event will be live-streamed on April 30th

Here is a clip from the 2015 ceremony: Memorial Day Ceremony Clip

They are also supporting and helped create a new documentary, entitled “Disturbing the Peace.” Here is a description as is found on their website:

“World torn by conflict — in a place where the idea of peace has been abandoned — an energy of determined optimism emerges. When someone is willing to disturb the status quo and stand for the dream of a free and secure world, who will stand with them?… “Disturbing the Peace” follows former enemy combatants — Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison — who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough.” The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of combatants for peace.”

The film shows the steps that both sides are taking to not buy into one narrative. For the Israeli soldiers, this is a more difficult step as they are fighting a meta-Zionist narrative and the ideas of security that are supposedly justifying all of their actions that they have always been taught. Stepping away from viewing the Palestinians as the “other,” the ones who are barbaric and are threatening their existence, to seeing them as their neighbors who they have expelled and put under an Occupational regime.

A trailer of the film: Disturbing the Peace — Documentary

Ryan Averill

Influencing Works and Citations:

Jessica Benjamin, “Beyond Doer and Done To: An Intersubjective View of Thirdness,” Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 73:5; 5-46, 2004.

Ali Abu Nima, “United, Democratic State in  Palestine-Israel,” One Country: Metropolitan Books (New York), 101-133, 2006.

Edward Said, “Orientalism,” Vintage Books, 1979.

Combatants for Peace


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