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We refuse to be enemies - Vision Camp in Israel-Palestine
Leila Dregger
leila.dregger@snafu.de


to Other
Dear Friends,

please share the information on the Vision Camp happening now in the West Bank.
Some of the participants will also join the demo in Tel Aviv tonight.

Shalom & Salaam
Leila

Press Release: We refuse to be enemies - Vision Camp in Israel-Palestine
The Middle East is exploding in violence. In the last two weeks the war has
killed more than 700 people, the vast majority of them in Gaza, with more than
100 children amongst them. Due to the extensive bombing of even schools,
mosques, hospitals and private homes people can no longer find protection or
shelter. Hatred, fear and anger are at a peak in the whole region.

Today, in this turbulence, peace workers from Israel, Palestine and other
countries are begining a five-day vision camp in the West Bank. In the middle of
the war they hold a peace vigil and create a frequency of calmness in which
mutual perception, sharing, deep listening, clear thinking and vision building
is possible. They say, `We refuse to be enemies.` And, `Together we can give a
clear sign to end the war.`
Co-initiator Sabine Lichtenfels, co-founder of the peace research center Tamera,
Portugal: `Justice cannot be achieved through bombing. The tears shed by Israeli
mothers are the same than those of Palestinian mothers. By gathering those who
are against the war we want to make visible the knowledge and vision which is
more powerful than globalised violence. This could become a turning point for
the peace movement.`
For its protection and success the vision camp needs international accompaniment
and publicity. The war in Gaza and Israel is not a local conflict but another
breakout of the global war system - just like Syria and Ukraine. War is the
unavoidable result of a society which follows the hypnosis of fear and
separation - on economical, ecological, social and spiritual levels. Let us
leave the war system whereever it is possible. Stay online and accompany the
vision camp with your thoughts and prayers. We invite people all over the world
to join in meditation on Monday morning (sunrise) and Tuesday evening (sunset
and the end of Ramadan). Please take part.
We will publish updates here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aVisionCampinIsraelPalestine?
ref=hl&ref_type=bookmark
The Cause `We refuse to be enemies - together we can stop the war` has more than
18.000 supporters: https://www.causes.com/campaigns/80649-we-refuse-to-be-
enemies-together-we-can-end-the-war

Friday afternoon. The news speak about the biggest marches and clashes in the
Westbank for decades. 10.000 people march from Ramallah to Jerusalem. The
Westbank seems to rise, and the army reacts with more violence. The shootings
come very close to the Vision Camp.

Message from Sabine Lichtenfels: `I am just returning from the global circle. We
are beyond words. Three Palestinians from the village here close by, were
killed. They were directly shot in the head, killed by Israeli soldiers. We
heard the shooting nearby. The information from the different sides are very
different - the Palestinians say there were peace workers - the Israeli side
says, they were terrorists. When will all this brainwashing ends and we are all
ready to face each other as human beings?
We bare witness here - and try to stay in Grace. In the camp, the trust between
the people is growing. I want to quote some sentences from a Palestinian. While
I am writing this I again here shooting close by. He said: In 2001 I decided to
give up being a victim. I think we have only one enemy. We are not two sides, we
are one side. We have one common enemy: the hatred.`
How many Palestinians will have to be killed for the Israeli to feel save. The
freedom of the Palestinians will never be achieved through missiles and suicide
bombing. Now it is time to be extremist for peace. At this moment kids are
burrying their parents. Enough is enough.
And now there are strong meetings between us - in silence, with prayers, with
statements, with music - we do our best to connect with the power of peace -
trying how we can guide each other to an inner power instead of feeling weak!
It is challenging and we come to the core question of humanity - when will this
cycle of violence really end and what is our contribution to it?`


On Thursday at 6 pm, the vision camp started in the Westbank with 50 people from
Palestine, Israel and other countries, and more Palestinians are expected in the
next days. The meeting place is a very simple site with almost no
infrastructure.
Sabine: `It is a very challenging and emotional situation, more than ever since
I know the region. People are under a strong pressure and have the urge to do
something. Peace workers from both sides are tired and desperate. After many
years of struggle for non-violence and peace, the violence again seems to be
stronger. Some of the participants are restless, would love to run to Gaza to
bring help, blankets, anything to the people. And we hear from a march with
10.000 Palestinians from Ramallah to Jerusalem and from clashes.
The atmosphere in the whole country is charged with fear and anger. I still feel
protected, but there is also fear of some who feel they could be attacked for
their commitment for peace. Palestinians are afraid to be accused of
`normalisation`, for being in contact with Israelis.
This is not a normal seminar or meeting, we have to do very basic work for trust
building among us all and empowerment to raise our voices for peace. The group
energy is rising constantly. In the morning, after a beautiful morning prayer by
Vera we did simple work - Karma Yoga - planting trees and other things as a gift
for the place. The owner gives a great example. He is a man whose brother was
killed by Israelis, but chose the path of non-violence - a strong decision.
What can be a help in this situation? People must see that they are not alone,
that there is an international community that cares about them. Building
community on every level, learning how to raise our voices. People are
overwhelmed that we as Europeans came at all to be with them. Our task is to
show that there are alternatives to the war system and that there is a global
movement.`

Thursday:
Arriving in Tel Aviv seemed to be a miracle in itself. After a Hamas rocket hit
a place close to the Tel Aviv airport on Tuesday, all international flights to
Tel Aviv were cancelled. However, the team decided to go to the airport anyway
to see if they can make the impossible possible. With a lot of luck and even
more prayers they managed to get the four last places in an El-Al flight from
Madrid to Tel Aviv.
As a first impression from the country Sabine Lichtenfels mentions the shelters:
`There are everywhere, in all squares and places. We hear from other peace
workers that the tension has never before been so high as in the moment. Friends
from a peace village say they survived the Intifada, wars and crises, but now
for the first time they feel afraid.`
Fear and anger are high in the country, and there seem to be few places where
Palestinians and Israeli can meet, can perceive each other, share deeply and
work on a common vision for peace. This is what the vision camp wants to create.
After a short rest in Jerusalem the four of them headed to the Westbank, where
an Ashram for non-violence is about to emerge. This is the place where the
Vision Camp has started with 50 people from Israel and Palestine at 6 pm local
time.

--
Leila Dregger
Tamera Peace Research Centre
Monte Cerro, 7630-392 Relquias
Caixa Postal 1, 7630-303 Colos
Portugal
NEW: Mobile: +351-961841569
Mobile in Germany: +49 (0) 175 - 871 37 21
E-Mail: leila.dregger@tamera.org
www.tamera.org
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