Partnership for Peace

DSC_9610Partnership for Peace supports effective actions to move through conflict towards compassion, as well as coordinated efforts between Israeli and Palestinian stakeholders in the region and throughout the Diaspora. It is our conviction a resilient and just society depends on the dignity and empowerment of all participants, and the only legitimate approach to state-building is one that embodies non-violence at its essence, identity and practice. Our strategy includes economic, strategic and logistical support.

Currently we have partnered with Palestinian activist and pacifist, Ali Abu Awwad to launch the Taghyeer Movement. Taghyerer, which is the Arabic word for change, enables members of the disenfranchised Palestinian community to engage as citizens, and empowers leaders to support their communities to advance social development and a nonviolent partnership to transform the occupation. This encompasses the reinvention of Palestinian civil society and economy, and integrates strategy towards a peaceful and equitable resolution of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.

The Taghyeer Movement’s founder, Ali Abu Awwad, was raised in Beit Umar subject to the restrictions of the Israeli military presence and expansion of settlements encroaching on Palestinian communities. His family was active in the Palestinian Liberation Organization; Ali’s mother was a colleague of Yasser Arafat. Ali was arrested for participation in the first Intifada and sentenced to ten years in prison at age 17. He was released after four years as part of the Oslo Accords.

While in an Israeli prison, Ali immersed himself in the literature of non-violence and was moved by the vision and transformation practiced by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. After years without the right to visit his mother, also in an Israeli prison, together they embarked on a hunger strike. As a result of the 17-day fast, parent and child were able to meet.

Included in Ali’s self-education was an exposure to the history of `oppression and genocide suffered by Jewish people for generations. This new awareness influenced his capacity to perceive the people he believed responsible for his suffering with a new empathy. After his beloved brother was killed by an Israeli soldier, members of the Parent’s Circle for Bereaved Families approached Ali’s mother, wanting to visit their home and express condolences. The Parent’s Circle consists of grieving Israeli and Palestinian families that have lost someone to the conflict. Ali recounts it was the first time an Israeli asked permission to enter their home. Much to his surprise Ali’s mother welcomed the Israeli members. He had never witnessed Jewish vulnerability, sorrow or tears, only authority. It changed his soul and direction in life.

Ali lives the vision and mission of Partnership for Peace, moving beyond narratives that reinforce fear, hatred and violence to creating empathy, relationship and community.

Hear more from Ali Abu Awwad at the TED Talk.

All interest in our project is welcome. For more information on the Partnership for Peace, please contact Annie Berdy  or call 914.525.1127.

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