Imagine Worcester: Yaniv Reshev and Bassam Arramin
Yaniv and Bassam are members of Combatants for Peace , two men in a group of 600 Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters who have decided to lay down their arms and to realize their vision of resolving the conflict by peaceful means. They are Israelis and Palestinians who were actively involved in the cycle of violence in the Middle East.. The Israelis served as combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinians were involved in acts of violence in the name of Palestinian liberation. They all used weapons against one another, and looked at each other only through weapon sights; however today they cooperate and no longer believe that the conflict can be resolved through violence. that the blood bath will not end unless they act together to terminate the occupation and stop all forms of violence, call for the establishment of a Palestinian State, alongside the State of Israel and they will use only non violent means to achieve their goals and call for both societies to end violence.
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Yaniv Reshef, 37, is an active member of Combatants for Peace, working with former Palestinian and Israeli combatants in the southern Israel / Hebron area. Yaniv lives in Israel, just 19 km from Gaza in an agricultural community that suffers frequent missile attacks. He believes that Combatants for Peace offer a tangible way for people to stop the brutality – and he helped organized C4P meetings in the neighboring large town of Sderot so that townspeople could hear his Palestinian and Israeli partners first hand. Formerly a foot soldier in a sabotage unit of the Israeli Army, he served in Lebanon and in the Occupied Territories between the years of 1991-1998, then chose not to go into the army reserves because he does not agree with IsraelÂ’s state policy in the Occupied Territories. Yaniv, a historian by education, has worked as a newspaper editor and web-designer most recently for a nonprofit in nearby Sderot, providing services to people with disabilities and children. He is now building his house in Nir Akiva (lit. Akiva
Meadows) the agricultural cooperative where he was born. Until 1948 this area was the Palestinian village of Kawfakha.
Bassam Aramin, 41, was awarded the 2007 Eliav-Sartawi Award for Middle Eastern Journalism by Search for Common Ground in NY and the Bremen Peace Award, in Germany. Born in a Palestinian village near Hebron, he is a former member of Fatah who served a 7 year prison sentence after being arrested at age 17 for helping to plan an armed attack against Israeli soldiers. As he has written in the Jewish Daily Forward, Â“But as I served
out my sentence, I talked with many of my guards. I learned about the Jewish peopleÂ’s history. I learned about the Holocaust. And eventually I came to understand: On both sides, we have been made instruments of war. On both sides, there is pain, and grieving, and endless loss.Â” Mr. Aramin is married and had 6 children. His late daughter Abir was killed by an Israeli soldierÂ’s rubber coated steel bullet while walking home from school. Besides being a founding member of Combatants for Peace, he heads the Al Quds Association for Democracy and Dialogue in Jerusalem and is a director at the Palestine National Archives in Ramallah. He has been accepted into the Masters of Peace Studies program at Bradford University for fall, 2009.