2019 Annual Report
Programs & Activities
Combatants for Peace is built on three pillars: Nonviolence of all forms, building a Community based on equality and Action/activism to end the occupation. To that end, our movement focuses on three main types of programming: Activism (protests, sit-ins and demonstrations), Compassion-building (people-to-people, education and humanitarian work) and personal growth (trainings for activists).
Combatants for Peace leadership includes a 30 member steering committee, five regional groups (North, South, Center, Women and Theater), and about 150-200 active CfP members in those groups. Events organized by our groups and members regularly engage dozens, and sometimes hundreds of activists, and our largest event of the year brings out 10,000 people. Our reach also includes approx. 45,000+ followers & supporters worldwide on social media.
“What I love about Combatants for Peace is that they address the structural realities of occupation (and raise awareness of it in Israel and internationally), while also transforming the social-psychological relationship between Palestinians and Israelis. Their actions are strong and clear in their commitment to ending the occupation and addressing the occupation induced injustices, while they also have significant nuance and hold deep compassion for both sides – which comes from working across conflict lines.”
– Michelle Gawerc, Associate Professor of Sociology, Loyola University Maryland
Action and Activism, including protests, demonstrations and sit-ins.
Campaign in the village of Kfar Mallik: helping to protect the village from two encroaching illegal “outposts” (i.e. small settlements) which had stolen privately owned land and hoarded the water spring, protecting it with violence. Villagers and activists have been working together to launch a nonviolent campaign to reclaim the village and the land. We held three major demonstrations in the village, including using our bodies to block off the road leading to the nearby settlement, we hosted a pray-in, where religious leaders of all faith traditions were invited to pray together in protest, and the theater group did a street performance, using theater as a means to express solidarity and fight for change.
Protests in East Jerusalem: We stood in solidarity, during several protests and demonstrations, to protect the lands and homes of Palestinians in and near Jerusalem, including Wadi Hummus, Isawwiya (neighborhoods in East Jerusalem) and Wallaje (next to South Jerusalem and Beit Jalla).
Protesting Military operations in Gaza: During the Israeli military operations and bombings of Gaza, Combatants for Peace took to the street with many other partner NGO’s to demand an immediate end to the violence.
Protecting Water Rights: The Israeli government is planning to move a checkpoint near Beit Jala further into the West Bank, cutting off Palestinian access to the water spring of Ein Hanya (Ein Yael). Combatants for Peace staged a protest and awareness campaign demanding that Palestinians not lose access to this spring and their water rights.
Building a society based on mutual respect, dignity and compassion.
Opening Up the Narrative:
Educational Lectures: In 2019 we organized 114 lectures, reaching 3650 people in Israel and Palestine. During our lectures we share the personal, intimate stories of our activists and humanize the “other” in profound ways. Over 40% of these lectures were Israeli teens who were about to go into the military – and most of these kids had never had the chance to meet a Palestinian before, much less hear his or her story.
Memorial Ceremony: We hosted our annual Memorial Ceremony on Yom Hazikaron in Tel Aviv (in partnership with Parent’s Circle – Families Forum). This is an event where we declare that war is not an act of fate, but rather is a choice of human beings… and that we can make another choice. By welcoming Palestinian voices into the Ceremony Israelis are able to see that they are not the perpetual victim, as their media and leaders declare, and that there is another narrative. Nearly 10,000 people came out for the Ceremony – making ours the second largest Memorial Ceremony in all of Israel. We also hosted a sister Ceremony in Haifa, which was attended by nearly 600 people. Another sister Ceremony took place next to the village of Harduf in the Western Galillee. The incredible beauty of it was that among the 450 participants, about 50 were Palestinian citizens of Israel (who are traditionally not welcomed on Memorial Day). This was the first time they felt welcome and invited to be full participants at a Memorial Ceremony.
Tours of the West Bank: We ran over eighteen tours this year. We focused on three main areas in the West Bank: the Jordan Valley, Nablus area and Bethlehem area. The Jordan valley tour is organized in cooperation with the Jordan Valley Coalition. The aim of the tours is to introduce Israelis and Internationals to the difficulties the local Palestinian communities are facing because of the occupation. We cooperate with other organizations as well, such as in joint tours to Hebron in partnership with Breaking the Silence.
Seminars: we organized three 3 day-long seminars for youth educators who lead groups of pre-army gap year students, as well as for professional tour guides. These seminars were requested by the leaders of the groups we met during our educational meetings: many of them were thirsty for more in-depth knowledge. We joined forces with Ir Amim and Breaking the Silence and developed an immerse and intense program full with meetings with Palestinians, tours and lectures, so that they will be able to guide groups and teach the history of both peoples with accuracy and fairness.
Teaching the history of the Nakba: We built relationships with Palestinian citizens of Israel in Haifa and brought several Israeli school and adult groups to see Palestinian villages that were destroyed in 1948 and learn the history of the Nakba.
Learning Peace Lectures: We organized four meetings, open for the public in Tel-Aviv, each time discussing another aspect about the impact of the occupation. We combine personal story telling with a talk by an academic or expert. About 150 people attended these events.
Sumud (Steadfastness) & Humanitarian Support
Water Catchment Systems: We built water catchment systems for two different Palestinian communities living in the desert with no access to running water. We also spent time repairing the water catchment systems that we had built in villages in past years.
Olive Harvest: We participated in the olive harvest again this year, working in several different communities, including the village of Hares, near the settlement of Ravava and the village of Kadum, near the settlement of Kedumim. Our presence serves to protect local communities from violence by the Israeli military and local settlers, who might seek to disrupt the harvest.
Jordan Valley Coalition: In Palestine we sent activists three times per week to the Northern Jordan Valley to walk with the Shepherds, protecting them from settler and military violence. We also ran five tours in the Northern Jordan Valley for Israelis to witness the situation first-hand and learn about the difficulties and violence the Shepherding community is facing. These tours led to many additional activists signing on to help.
Rebuilding infrastructure that has been demolished: When the Israeli military demolishes homes or tents for livestock, or destroys roadways blocking freedom of movement, Combatants for Peace has gone into the community and rebuilt this infrastructure, with the help of the local Palestinian villagers. One example was rebuilding a tent for livestock that was demolished by the military in Dir Balut, a Palestinian village on the outskirts of the settlement of Leshem. Another was opening up the access road (which had been blockaded by the military) leading to the village of Marda, outside the Ariel Settlement block.
Tree Planting: Combatants for Peace participated in multiple tree plantings throughout the year, helping Palestinian villagers secure rights to their land, including several in partnership with Rabbis for Human Rights, and another in the village of Hares, near the Ariel Settlement block.
Personal Growth: helping activists develop the internal skills required to dedicate themselves to all forms of nonviolence: thought, word and deed.
Theater Group: We organized and hosted three performances of the Theater group throughout the year – using theater as a tool of personal transformation, growing compassion and activism.
Freedom School: We laid the foundation to launch the first cohort of the “Freedom School” an intense study program for young Israelis, to educate them on the conflict and to inspire them to become active in the peace camp. The school is a joint project of CfP, Breaking the Silence, Achvat Amim and Hashomer Hatzair Haolami. The Freedom School will be formally launched in early 2020.
Women’s Empowerment: The women’s group has been slowly rebuilding in 2019. It was founded in 2016, and was strong and successful for about two years before it faced collapse in 2018. This past year, with a lot of work, it has slowly grown and blossomed again. The women’s group re-formed on the Palestinian side, bringing a strong, young energy to activism. They organized an olive harvest in the fall as well as an internal educational workshop on International law. At the workshop, attendees discussed various international laws and conventions, examining how this relates to the occupation and political/legal situation in Palestine. In 2020, we are planning to rebuild the women’s group on the Israeli side as well and bring the two groups together into one.
Nonviolent Communication Trainings: We organized one main Nonviolent Communication training this past year, in September. 60-70 people attended the workshop where we practiced our interpersonal communications skills and addressed different ways in which we could cooperate more closely together, through compassionate speech, deep listening and greater empathy.
Nonviolent Activism Trainings: We organized a group of ten lead activists, who wanted to delve deeply into understanding nonviolent activism, and become teachers and leaders for the rest of the movement. This group of ten participated in six workshops throughout the year, learning the principles of nonviolent activism, and discussing how they can be applied in the field. From here, this group of leaders plans to bring these ideas and strategies back to the greater movement and incorporate them into our daily activism.
- Young Leaders Fellowship: We launched a fellowship for Palestinian and Israeli young adults who are based in the USA. We are empowering these local leaders to use their voices and are training them to be speakers at educational events throughout the country. We have three Israelis and three Palestinians (all currently USA based) who are participating in the fellowship. They have were given personal coaching with experienced trainers who taught them to find their own voice. They participated in two weekend retreat/workshops where they learned tell their story and engaged in deep community building. Now they are speaking to local Universities, synagogues, conferences and at other events, sharing their stories and their work building bridges.
- Education & Lectures: We have organized educational lectures for well over 1,000 people throughout the USA – from New York to California, to Salt Lake City, Utah!
- Tours to Israel and Palestine: We ran a tour for Americans to visit Israel and Palestine, bringing a cohort of internationals to meet our activists and learn deeply about the conflict and the occupation.
- Memorial Day: We hosted eleven satellite Memorial Ceremonies, screening the event in communities all around the USA (15,000 people around the world watched the event on social media!)
- Building Local Activist Community: We launched ten communities in cities across the USA, filled with people who are dedicated to our cause and want to work locally within their own communities. Together we are building a base of support for USA activists to work in partnership with Combatants for Peace.
- Congress: We have met with over a dozen members of Congress, educating them about the situation on the ground in Palestine and Israel, humanizing both peoples – and galvanizing our leaders in support of this issue.
Responsible Stewardship & Transparency
Finances: Combatants for Peace
*Please note some of the above numbers below are approximates, based on conversions from Israeli shekels and Euros to USD.*
Total Income: $519,964
Israel & Israeli Donors: $112,857
America & American Donors: $185,964
Europe & European Foundations: $221,143
Thank you to: Bread for the World, Agiamondo, B8 for Hope, IM Dialog, Die Schwelle, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Forum ZFD and the Swiss Embassy for your support.
Breakdown of American Donations:
American Friends of Combatants for Peace: $150,450
Online direct donations: $5964
New Israel Fund: $19,550
Thank you to: The Kuriansky Foundation and the many generous individuals who gave through NIF.
Total Expenses: $523,419
Personnel Costs: 36%
Additional Operating expenses: 8%
Finances: American Friends of Combatants for Peace
Total Income: $293,159
Individual Donations: $183.947
Thank you to Threshold, Samuel Rubin and the many family foundations that give us your support.
Total Expenses: $140.172
Personnel Costs: 30.2%
Transfers to CfP: 51.3%
Fund Retention: .9%
Photography Credits to: Tatyana Gitilis, Ghassan Bannoura & Gili Getz