Palestinian & Israeli Combatants for Peace: I am with you. I'm going to stay with you.
The American Friends of Combatants for Peace (CfP) shared via email some profound word and experiences of the bi-national (Israeli and Palestinian) Zoom support group this week:
Jamil, CfP’s Palestinian General Coordinator, began the conversation. He looked around the Zoom room at his Israeli friends and shared that it was hard to find the words to express his sorrow, shock, and grief about what Hamas had done.
“I can’t believe this. I am seeing these images, and I don’t want to believe they are real. I cannot hold back my tears. You are my friends, my family.” Other Palestinian activists echoed words of care to Israeli members:
“I am with you. I’m going to stay with you.”
“I wish I could see you and hold you.”
At the start of the conversation, it was hard not to speak from “sides” about the pain, needs, and remorse for the violence coming from each society. After some time, Yonatan, CfP’s Israeli Executive Director, reflected, “We are talking as if we belong to the extreme parts of our communities, but we belong to each other. We chose each other. We are not our societies; we are humans.”
When a member asked if we could meet on Zoom every few days for mutual support, Israeli CfP co-founder Itamar spoke to our Palestinian members through tears, “I know things are going to get much worse. After we witness what Israel will do to Gaza, I don’t know if I will be able to look into your eyes.” A Palestinian member replied, “What sets us apart is that we can see each other. We can see each other’s pain. This is how we must stay.”
Click here to download a PDF of the full email, including CfP's statement.