Sharon Conlon (Omaha, Nebraska)
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.
The land of Palestine/Israel is like a beautiful heirloom tapestry that has been enjoyed by 2 cousins in their grandparent's home for many many years. Then one cousin unilaterally claims ownership of this heirloom. Saying that God gave it to him years ago, that he's been bullied the most and he and his descendants need it more.
The other cousin, stereotypically labeled as slow, not organized or not aggressive enough can put-up or shut-up with this grab. The "chosen" cousin does not have to share, his family is entitled to it.
In a land where cousins could be friends and neighbors (and were, up to the turn of the century) it is sad to travel this country and see how oppressive and humiliating one cousin can be to another. The indigenous non-Jewish people here do not have equal rights. One state, 2 state, whatever, start with basic human rights. Israel, start treating your cousin as family. Start kindly sharing this heirloom again with goodwill and respect their homeland too.