Sulaiman al Khatib grew-up knowing clearly that the military solution is the only solution to the occupation. This is what he was taught in his home village of Hizma northeast of Jerusalem, where his family has experienced the consequences of the occupation directly and where many members of his family took an active part in opposing it.
In light of this concept, young Sulaiman enlisted Fatah at age 12, and did what they do there at this age: through stones, firebombs, sprayed slogans. It was before the first Intifada. At the age of 14, along with his friends, he stabbed Israeli soldiers. Sulaiman was sentenced to 15 years in prison; his friend was sentenced to 18 years, both in an Israeli prison.
The first two years of imprisonment they served in the pediatric department of Hebron Prison. It was a difficult time. Sulaiman argues that they were suffering particularly hard because of the settlers from Kiryat Arba who had served as prison guards and as police officers. They weighed their hand on the young boys: Beatings, stripping of detainees, tear gas into the cells - were commonplace things.
When Sulaiman transferred to Al-Juneid prison near Nablus, he was placed to work in the library. This was an opportunity for him to read. He focused on the history of the Jewish people.
Exchange university studies to classes in prison proved to be a formative period. It was there where he began to develop his rethinking of the conflict and how to resolve it. There the idea of two states for two people had been matured.
Ten years and five months later, when he was released from prison as an adult in 1997, he came out with a different consciousness. Despite the major difficulties, despite the settlements, the blockade, the separation fence - Sulaiman and some of his friends from CFP chose to establish the Abu Sukar Center for Peace. They wholeheartedly believe that combatants, who personally paid a price for their active involvement in the conflict, are the ones who can significantly change the situation.