Sulaiman Khatib, Co-Founder, born and raised in Hizma, lives in Ramallah.
*Committed to Palestinian Freedom*
comes from a Palestinian nationalistic family from the village of Hizma, near
Jerusalem. At the age of 12 he started struggling for Palestinian
freedom by rioting at school and throwing stones at the army.
In 1986, just before the break of the first Intifada, when he was 14
years old, he was sentenced for 15 years in jail, out of which he
served 10.5 years. In jail he received most of his education, in what
as the "revolutionary university". The struggle in jail of the
political prisoners, through hunger-strikes and other non-violent means
has been a school in non-violent struggle.
*Paving a Non-Violent Path*
his release from jail in 1997, he
became office manager of Fatah in the Jerusalem district. At the start
of the second Intifada, in October 2000, Sulaiman was among those who
called for a non-violent, rather than a violent resistance to the
*A Strong Record of Peace-Making Accomplishments*
In 2004 Sulaiman was among 4 Palestinians and 4 Israelis chosen to take part in a one month journey to Antarctica arrange by Breaking the Ice. This was his first, equal-level meeting with Israelis, and it did break the ice. It did create positive results.
Later in 2004 Sulaiman established the Abu Sukar Center for Peace and Dialogue, later renamed to Al Quds Center for Peace and Dialogue. He is now the Vice President of this center.
Sulaiman interest in understanding Israelis increased with time. The Hebrew he
learned in jail as "the enemy's language" helped him in understanding the psyche of the Israelis he met along the way.
the summer of 2005 Sulaiman coordinated a summer camp for 200 kids from
all over Palestine and Israel that took place in the animal safari near
Later that year he took part in a peacemakers camp in Tawonga, California, to where he returned two more times in consecutive years (2006, 2007), acting as the Palestinian coordinator of the camp in 2007.
In 2005 he met,
along with some other ex-prisoners, with ex Israeli combatants who refused to
serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. After long, explosive meetings
which lasted several months, the two groups managed to overcome extreme suspicions
and misunderstandings, as they decided to work jointly towards ending the
conflict through ending the occupation in non-violent methods. They formed a joined ground-breaking organization called Combatants for Peace, which has since won the attention and appreciation of many and won several
major awards. In 2007 Sulaiman acted as the Palestinian Coordinator of Combatants for Peace.
*Organizing the Biggest Palestinian Peace Events*
In that year he also joined forces with Gadi Kenny, whom he met in Washington
DC in 2006 on a speaking tour, and together they initiated and formed an
unprecedented non-violent peace demonstrations in Palestine and Israel, under
same slogans: Together for Peace, Two States for Two People, End of Occupation,
End of Conflict.
The success of these demonstrations was historic: over 10,000
Palestinians turned out to the two events in Palestine - in Anata and in
Tulkarem. Al-Jazira's Arabic channel covered the event in Tulkarem live.
Israeli media payed little attention, yet it did report on the event in Anata,
where hundreds of Israelis joined over 3,000 Palestinians. Jibril Rajub spoke
in both events, and Marwan Baraguti and Abu Mazen endorsed the events.
The event in Anata, on June 5, was broadcast live to an event in Tel Aviv
arranged in cooperation with several Israeli NGOs. Sulaiman appeared on big ads
in Haaretz where he called Israelis to attend the events. On the weekend of
that week there was also an event in Tantur, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem,
under the same slogans.
In October 2007 Sulaiman received the Search for Common Ground Award in the name of Combatants for Peace.
At the end of 2007 he stepped down from the position as Co-Coordinator of Combatants for Peace and moved on to new projects.
*Wounded Xrossing Borders*
In early 2008, together with Gadi, he went on to work on a new challenge that became known as Wounded Xrossing Borders project, which brings together
casualties of the conflict from both sides. The participants of this long dialog, that continues to date,are not the
typical "peacenics". They come from the mainstream in both Palestine
and Israel - ex Palestinian prisoners as well as an ex Israeli Chief
Warden of a jail in which they, including Sulaiman, have sat. As part of the project, the group spent 10 days in Bosnia in cooperation with the Nansen Dialog Center, Mostar and 8 days in Switzerland, in cooperation with Coexistences. The project is followed, from it's very beginning, by Palestinian and Israeli film makers, and would be made into a film when the time is right.
*Promoting Peace Through Dialog, and Minds of Peace*
In August 2009, Sulaiman and Gadi hosted the Global Majority seminar Promoting Peace Through Dialog, with participants and professors coming from USA, Bosnia, Nigeria, Palestine, Israel, India, Holland, Japan, and Northern Ireland.
In the same month they also organized the Minds of Peace negotiations for peace exercise.
In September 2009, Sulaiman and Gadi were invited to be keynote speakers at the annual conference of Alliance for Peacebuilding, in Boston.
Gadi comes from a patriotic Jewish Israeli family. His father was
born in Tel Aviv in 1920 into the hands of a Palestinian midwife, was
educated in Beirut, and served the Royal British Air force during
Second World War. In 1948 he became an officer of the small Israeli Air
Force and among the small group that built the IDF.
*Memories of Wars and Violence*
Gadi was educated by his parents and school educators (including the daughter of David Ben Gurion - Geula) to seek peace and pursue it. Yet his childhood memories are full of the conflict. Among other, they take him to the first Kibutz in Israel, Dgania, in the early-mid 1960s, while it was being shelled from the Golan Heights; the whistling sounds of shells above his head that were fired from the West Bank and exploded 1/2 a Kilometer from his family house in northern part of Tel Aviv during the war of 1967; the fear from exploding letters and exploding baggages on the streets and in garbage cans; the attacks on Israelis of all ages at schools, airplanes, Olympics, at home and abroad; and the trauma of the 1973 Yom Kipur during which he had his Bar Mitzva and in which his parents and older brothers have lost many of their friends.
*From Army Service to High Tech Business to Community Service*
In 1978, at the age of 18 he joined the Israeli Air Force for the mandatory three years. After completing his military duties he studied computer sciences and engineering at the Hebrew University and the Technion, Israel. He worked as information systems manager, and in the early 1990s established a software start-up company. In mid 1990s he retired from the technology and business world and volunteered for two years to be part of a founding team of a middle-school in Holon, Israel.
In the late 1990s he went back to academia to study for BA in Communication and Management at the
College of Management, Tel Aviv, and in the mid 2000s he studied for MA in International Communication at both Georgetown
Univesity and American University in Washington DC.
It was in Washington DC that Gadi met for the first time Palestinians from Palestine on equal terms - on campus, and through Israelis with Palestinians friends. He participated in two intensive 3-days workshops with Palestinians and other Arabs conducted by Adina Friedman and Osama Abu Kata. These workshops were transformative for him, as he found Palestinians that were communicable with him beyond the levels he preconceived.
From there on Gadi was drawn to searching for questions and answers pertaining
to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, exploring the possibilities of
understanding the conflict, the Palestinians, and the Israelis,
participating in seminars, tours, conferences, and expanding his
readings and his meetings with Palestinians.
on in 2005 he participated in two guided tours into
Palestine, including into Jenin and Dheishe refugee camps. The meetings
with Palestinians in these tours, along with the many meetings with
Palestinians in Washington DC, have broken stereotypes and barriers of
ignorance which he held, and convinced him that there are many partners
for peace and dialog on
the Palestinian side, at least to the extent worthy of more
*Applying Marketing and Business Skills to the Active Pursuit of Peace*
At this stage Gadi started encouraging people doing peace work. His first contribution went to Just Vision who was in the final stages of producing the award-winning documentary Encounter Point. The second contribution went to Abraham's Vision towards the establishment of their new Visions Program, which was later acknowledged in person by Bill Clinton at the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative.
*A New Model in Palestinian-Israeli Peace Work*
In 2006 Gadi met Sulaiman while Sulaiman was presenting Combatants for Peace at American University, Washington DC. Half a year later, Gadi returned home from his studies, determined to organize popular peace events on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war and occupation, with the idea of passing messages of peace from people to people while the relevant media would be covering this 40th anniversary. He soon met Sulaiman and together they started working on the June 5 events which eventually brought out over 10,000 Palestinians and several thousand Israelis demonstrating peacefully under the same slogans: Together for Peace, Two States for Two People, End of Occupation, End of Conflict, Peace, in Arabic, Hebrew, and English (see also here).
Towards the June 5 events Gadi initiated the creation of a documentary,
still in the works, by a joint production of Palestinian and Israeli
film-makers. This team is still following the projects of Gadi and
Sulaiman with the aim of finalizing a documentary or a TV series during
These June 5 2007 events were the biggest peace demonstrations in
Palestine, ever. The events were covered by several Israeli dailies (e.g. Ynet), the three main Israeli TV news programs, the New York Times, as well as Al Jazeera Arabic TV and the popular Palestinian Al Quds daily. Yet
the events did take place and showed that with adequate energies,
people, and funding, Palestinians do protest for peace even under
difficult conditions and even in their sad memorial days.
From 2007 Gadi serves also as Director at IPCRI (Israel Palestine Center for Research and
Information), a 21 years old NGO formed and lead by Hanna Siniora and
Gershon Baskin that was an important partner for the June 5 events.
In 2007 Gadi became a member of Combatants for Peace and is still active in this movement.