Yusre first met the occupation with the outbreak of the first Intifada, when he was 16. The occupation came straight to his school in Samu’a village. Soldiers upon soldiers came.
Two months later, his good friend Bassam was killed right next to him. The accumulating anger was expressed by throwing stones on soldiers. Yusre did not understand why it was wrong - after all, he was not looking for them, they came to him.
His first day in highschool was soon outplaced by imprisonment and a two year sentence in the Israeli jail. Those were tough years, Yusre says.
In those years he exchanged his coming-of-age experiences for a quick course in vice and animosity. He left as prisoner 1053 (inmates were addressed with numbers, not names),more angry and hating than he had been when imprisoned.
Those feelings were construed by Yusre when forming the first “Tanzim” (militant faction). Due to a lack of firearms in his area, they would use different means: stones, molotov cocktails, roadblocks. During the day he worked in construction for his brother-in-law in Ramallah, and during the night he worked in the Tanzim resistance. After the Oslo Accords, he left Tanzim, finished his high school education and learnt hotel managing in the British college in Gaza.
With the outbreak of the second Intifada, he was asked to be part of it’s leadership. Both friends who asked him to do so - became shahids, killed by undercover soldiers. Yusre refused. He wanted to live. For his wife, for his children. He supported the struggle, but not actively.
The connection with Combatants for Peace happened incidentally. Two activists of the then-new organization approached him; Yusre came to a meeting.
It was a long, laden process. Especially when it came to gaining mutual trust.Yusre would look at the soldiers and servicemen who came, and he would find it hard to believe them. He felt that the Israelis are also struggling to put their trust in the Palestinians. The Israelis feared a bomb would be put in their car by the end of the meeting; the Palestinians feared they’ll all be arrested. With time, a mutual trust was built.
Since then, he’s there. Even though some of his Palestinian colleagues sometimes wonder what he is doing there. Others, however, accept his invitations to join group activities. Yusre is certain that even with all which happened in the past, and all that will happen in the future, despite the occupation and the political power-struggles - the movement will survive.
Indeed, it survived so far, and he still has the strength to give.