REFLECTIONS OF AN EVANGELICAL

I see a nation stained with the blood of their brother.  I see people flooding into the holy sites to find God without pity or remorse for the Palestinian genocide that is being supported through their churches and tithe.  I have a question for the Zionists and the Evangelicals, what will you do if the God of Israel is not the God of the “uniquely Israeli people” of which the court found no proof, but the God of the people who are being murdered and pillaged?

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AL-NAQAB OR NEGEV? A BEDOUIN REALITY

The visit by our group to the al-Naqab Desert produced some very valuable information. Our visit with a Palestinian Bedouin village laid out in stark clarity the oppression faced in the area. Israel has taken over much of the land, and co-opted even the traditional names of the villages in the Naqab. The Israelis call the desert the Negev, and now assert their identity on the region which was once entirely Palestinian Bedouin. It is an arid region where few ventured prior to the 1948 Nakba.

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INTERACTIONS AND MATERIALS AFFECTING ENVIRONMENT

Military presence and eclectic reading. In Palestine/Israel, myriad soldiers with machine guns inhabit the public spaces. I wasn't used to the military in the forefront of my environment. With only 1 percent of the U.S. population serving in the military, national service seems abstract, out of sight and out of mind. But in Israel, everyone is required to serve for three years.

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ISRAEL'S SECURITY

When Israel takes bold actions, it is often in the name of security.  The wall between the West Bank and the internationally recognized border of Israel (note: Israel, continually confiscating more territory in its bid to expand, does not recognize this border) was erected supposedly for security.  Gaza is under blockade for Israel's security. 

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REBRANDING THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE

The Israeli security apparatus is everywhere: checkpoints, Israeli soldiers casually swinging assault weapons, guard towers with surveillance cameras, electrified and razor wire fences, concrete barriers between neighborhoods, and, of course, the so-called “security wall.” Israeli settlers are assigned military protection for every major event and gathering, at every bus-stop in the illegal settlements throughout confiscated Palestinian lands.

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IN A MOTHER'S EYES

Reflection after a home stay at the Dheisheh Refugee Camp and after stops at striking prison support tents in Bethlehem and Ramallah: While in Bethlehem we visited LAYLAC: The Palestinian Youth Action Center for Community Development that adjoins the Dheisheh Refugee Camp, one of the camps Palestinian refugees were forced to live in after 1948.

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MOVING BEYOND CONFINEMENT

Two of us had been invited to spend the night at the home of Naji Owdah at the Dheisheh Refugee Camp. As he lead us into the house he said: "We'll close the windows at night in case of a tear gas attack." A normal enough warning considering the circumstances under which Palestinians live.

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ON SILENCE

I grew up wondering how the holocaust could have happened. As a child, I could not understand why no one stopped it. (Children can think quite clearly at times.) Sadly, I learned later that most Germans and most of the rest of the world were silent. They did not know or didn't want to know what was happening, despite the evidence all around them. 

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TRANSFORMATION

Just before I left on this trip with Interfaith Peacebuilders, I received the publication "Oneing" that I had ordered from The Center for Action and Contemplation, founded by Fransican priest Richard Rohr.  As I was anxious about the trip, I thought bringing something inspirational would bolster me through whatever we might encounter.  The latest volume of collected essays happened to have the theme "Transformation."

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MY ANALOGY

There is much to write about this trip. We are spending much of our time in the West Bank. The theme of this delegation is "Incarceration, Detention and Political Prisoners." I will write more later about what we've seen & heard in Jerusalem, Yafa, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Hebron, Naqab (Negev) Desert, and Bethlehem. But at this time I want to write about how I see the conflict with an analogy of family.

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THE ROAD TO GENOCIDE?

During the days of early national socialism, Nazi Germany spread a message that the Jewish people were evil, sub-human and all sorts of criminals based on their ethnicity.  The sad reality is that message has been used against the Arab people and the Palestinian people, especially, so that their cries for help are ignored.   Often collectively referenced as terrorists, they have become the definition of a stereotype. 

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THE PROMISE OF THE YOUTH

Half of the Palestinian population is under 18. With so many of the Palestinian population this young, one can only look forward with optimism. The Palestinians are among the most highly educated people in the world. However, leading this statistic, it is the girls that are becoming highly educated, while the boys are less likely to go to university.

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UNA TOCA FUERTEMENTE

Te invito a ponerte en los zapatos de esta familia Palestina. Son la 2:00 de mañana. Tus hijos están durmiendo. Tu madre anciana y enferma y tu esposo o esposa tambien. Todo oscuro y en silencio. De momento, escuchas los ruidos de los motores de carros, voces, luces desde afuera invaden tu casa. Alguien toca fuertemente a la puerta.

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THE INCARCERATION OF PALESTINIAN YOUTH

EDITORS NOTE: This twitter story from delegate @FalafelDad describes some of the challenges of Palestinian youth, systematically criminalized and incarcerated by Israeli occupying forces and police. The tweets below feature the delegation’s visit to the Al-Fara’a Prison, a former detention facility where Israeli occupying soldiers held Palestinian minors:

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