Combatants for Peace is a grassroots volunteer movement of 600 Israelis and Palestinians who took an active part in the cycle of violence and now work together to end it in non-violent ways. Our organization is composed of two branches, one run by Israelis and one run by Palestinians, with a total of 27 staff members. Each side is represented in five bi-national peace-building groups located throughout Israel and the West Bank. Having two branches as well as regional bi-national groups allows us to meet the needs of local communities and act in a culturally sensitive manner. The total budget is $148,000, with $200,000 equivalent in volunteers' contributions and in-kind support. We speak at parlor meetings, run joint Palestinian and Israeli community improvement projects such as olive picking, and host field trips to the West Bank. Main partners include Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, BSST UK, AJMuste Foundation, IWagePeace, and Firedoll Foundation.
Our main, overall objective is to assist in the establishment of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. Our leading focus areas for 2013-14 are protecting the human rights of Palestinians and exposing Israeli policy makers, the media, and the general public to the situation in the West Bank. To raise awareness and promote understanding among both publics regarding the hopes and suffering of the other side and create partners for dialogue, we work to educate both sides about reconciliation and non-violent struggle and to put political pressure on both governments to demand that they stop the cycle of violence and the occupation and resume a constructive dialogue.
We conduct public tours in the Occupied Territories; initiate and participate in joint protest actions and peace rallies such as our Theater of the Oppressed; deliver community lectures and workshops; empower marginalized Palestinian communities in the areas of agriculture, protection of human rights, preventing demolition of houses, community development and all forms of non-violent struggle; and hold an annual Joint Israeli Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony, attended by more than 2,400 Israelis and Palestinians this year, where we remember the victims of violence on both sides. When we see each other as human beings and equals, we work to ensure just treatment for all.
We are a respected organization in Israeli society. In addition, we are the only organization of which we are aware that has full support and recognition of the “anti-normalization committee” of the Palestinian Authority, which has approved all of our activities under the banner of the non-violent struggle. We are thus uniquely situated in a position to reach both populations. We actively work to protect the human rights of Palestinians through activities such as joint olive harvests and protesting building demolitions, and we work to educate the Israeli public as to the real situation in the West Bank. We provide a vital service in protecting human rights, and hope to include as many people as possible in this cause. Our Joint Remembrance Day Ceremony was attended by over 2,400 individuals in 2013, making it the largest single event in the peace camp.
As a bi-national organization working to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians, we recognize the importance of establishing connections and networks between human rights and civil society organizations. The Anna Lindh Foundation ideals and goals are closely aligned with ours, as are many of the organizations supported by the ALF and those who are part of the network. The greater our access to like-minded organizations and individuals, the greater our ability to reach out to new groups and communities to spread our message of peace and non-violence throughout Israeli society including Jewish Israelis, Arab citizens of Israel, and Palestinians in the Occupied Territory. In addition, we were the recipients of the Anna Lindh Euro-Med Award for the Dialogue between Cultures in 2009. We were enriched by a close relationship with former Network Coordinator Gianluca Solera, and hope to continue working closely with the Anna Lindh Foundation and Network.