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'Combatants For Peace' Palestinians call for Hamas to make peace

    Two Palestinians have called for Hamas to end
    its attacks against Israel and make
    peace.

    Mahmoud Hamdan told an audience in London: “I want to convey a
    message to Hamas: stop the violence and stop the blame cycle. We want to live in
    peace.”

    His colleague Malaka Samara said: “During the
    second intifada, they said 'we are an Islamic group ' and that 
    Islam was the representative religion of Palestine. I don’t think
    this is right. I don’t trust them.

    “I don’t want them to be the main political
    party in Palestine to lead the Palestinians to a big
    tragedy, not to have peace and not to have conciliation on the other side. They
    are wrong and they don’t represent Islam as a
    religion.”

    The two were part of a group of Israelis and
    Palestinians from Combatants For Peace (CFP) who have been brought on a tour
    of  the
    UK  by Amnesty International and
    Encounter. They were speaking at the Frontline Club in Paddington, alongside
    Israelis Idan Meir and Neta Osnat.

    CFP was formed by Israelis who served in the
    Israel Defence Force and some of their former Palestinian adversaries in an
    effort to break the cycle of violence and build better understanding between the
    two peoples.

    A packed audience of 100 people heard the
    four give short accounts of how they became involved in CFP and their dedication
    to try to achieve peace,  not necessarily for them but for their
    children.

    A  member of the audience  asked
    if  the Palestinian pair would challenge Hamas about violence,
    as they had done with Israel.

    Malaka Samara said she had voted for Hamas
    when she was at university but had never met any of its
    leaders.

    “Yes, of course I am ready to challenge
    anyone from Hamas,” she replied. “I have read a lot of books about my religion.
    This is not a religious conflict and we need to understand that ourselves. I
    voted for them because I thought they were different from normal
    people.”

    Then she went on to condemn their stance on
    Islam.

    A question was asked about boycott,
    divestment and sanctions. Idan Meir was unequivocal: “Personally, I don’t
    believe in any boycotts.” But he added that the entire boycott  issue was “complicated. Boycotting Germany
    made it the monster it became in the 30s. Boycotting Iran will make it much worse and that’s why
    boycotting Israel is not the solution,” he
    said.

    However, he was in favour of boycotting
    all produce that came from West Bank
    settlements, as were his fellow panellists.    

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