Dialogue on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Adelia Couser

Members of the Combatants for Peace spoke to 20 members of the Quinnipiac community on Oct. 11 about the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, where some students benefitted from the lecture.

Combatants for Peace (CFP) is a bi-national peace activist movement of Israelis and Palestinians who were originally part of the violence between the two regions. CFP members have decided to lay down their weapons and believe that only through nonviolent means will the conflict be solved. The movement was founded in 2005 and currently consists of more than 100 core organizers.

CFP’s main goal is to help Israelis and Palestinians peacefully resolve their 40-year long conflict and support the formation of two separate states. In addition to organizing peaceful protests and demonstrations, the movement sends out teams of speakers to talk about the conflict in various locations in America to raise awareness and garner support.

Rabbi Reena Judd invited CFP to Quinnipiac after hearing Bruce Barrett, the founder of CFP’s partner organization IWagePeace.org and coordinator of the group’s two-week speaking tour, speak on National Public Radio.

Judd emphasized that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is important for students to learn about because the existence of the two regions hangs in the balance.

“If they don’t figure out a way to get along, there’s not going to be an Israel and it’s just gonna all blow to hell,” Judd said. “You can’t wage war forever; you’re just gonna end up dead. This message is not desired to be heard. [People] don’t want to talk about it and they don’t want to think about it, but it’s important.”

The four CFP members at the event were Erez Krispin, Adi Greenfeld, Khdair Najjar and Mohammed Owedah. Each former combatant told personal stories of how they came to be involved with the organization and then opened up the discussion to questions from the audience.

Their stories ranged from Owedah not wanting his children to be involved with the violence to Greenfeld’s belief that she should be more educated on the Palestinians’ way of life.

“I think [the event] was really great,” said Barrett,. “We’re here to help everyone get to know Palestinians and Israelis who are working together, and I’m really pleased that [students] listened and cared.”

Two students who had visited Israel thanked the CFP members for their stories, saying that they’d gained a new perspective on the conflict.

“It was really nice to hear the feedback from these students,” Barrett said. “It’s sad to me that they don’t get that normally, especially the Palestinian perspective on the conflict, but that’s why we’re here.”