Home > Middle East > From Sderot to South Mt Hebron – Peace Activism under Fire | Combatants for Peace

From Sderot to South Mt Hebron – Peace Activism under Fire | Combatants for Peace

By David Willner

The year was 2008, during the war in Gaza, or “operation” as it was called by the Israeli government. I was a student, living in Sderot, an Israeli city that for the past 8 years had been bombed practically on a daily basis, by rockets fired from the Gaza strip, located just a few miles away from the city border. From the moment the alarm sounds, you have 15 seconds to find shelter.

As I lay there, shaking, I remember thinking to myself how surreal this is. Here I am, a non violent peace activist, on his way to meet with Palestinian non violent activists. And I’m under attack.

At that time, I was a member of the southern group of Combatants for peace, and in spite of the harsh situation, it was important for us to keep meeting. And so, one Saturday morning, I got into my car and drove from Sderot, to South Mt Hebron, the west bank, where my Palestinian friends were waiting for me. It wasn’t 10 minutes after I got into the car, that the Alarm went off. I remember stopping the car in the middle of the road, running to find shelter near a brick wall, crouching and covering my head with my arms, waiting for the blast.

As I lay there, shaking, I remember thinking to myself how surreal this is. Here I am, a non violent peace activist, on his way to meet with Palestinian non violent activists. And I’m under attack.

The year is 2012. Last night, the alarm went off in 4 cities in the south of Israel. Rockets were fired from Gaza.

This conflict is not one sided. It is a cycle of violence, where every generation from both sides, passes the fear, hate, and despair to the next. So it’s not enough to fight the occupation, we need to fight the violence. We need to fight the extremists from both sides, and show them that there is a way to end this conflict. And in my belief, that way is a non violent cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, with the indispensable support of our friends from around the world.

* David Willner is a member of the Tel-Aviv-Nablous group of Combatants for Peace.

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