ON HOLY GROUND

Arriving in Jerusalem, took me back to the origins of a people of three faiths; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. To see and experience the livening presence of the three faiths and how they are interconnected through this historical, middle- eastern Arab town named Jerusalem to the faith of three historic peoples opens my mind and heart to listen and hear fully.

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THE ROAD

In order to drive a vehicle, one must have a license. In the case of Israel and the West Bank the plates are either yellow (Israeli) or green and white (Palestinian). We had a yellow license plate that enabled us to use the super highways built for the Israeli settlers. Our travel would have been severely curtailed if we had had to go through the numerous checkpoints.

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A TIME FOR HEROES

While the other delegates were watching the IDF teenagers with automatic weapons, I was enchanted by the children. I was at the back of the group and was watching them when they saw Issa Amro. As soon as they spotted him they began to chant in unison, “Issa Amro! Issa Amro! Issa Amro!” As they neared us shyness overcame them and they merely grinned ear to ear.

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DESTROYED VILLAGES

Although there is a concerted effort to erase the existence of Palestinians since the time of the Nakba, archaeologists were able to save the remains of the community of Lifta, a wealthy and intellectual hub, near Jerusalem. We hiked down to the main gathering place of Lifta where there is a beautiful spring surrounded by trees.

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REFUSING TO BE ENEMIES

Last week we visited the Tent of Nations south of Bethlehem. Daher Nassar greeted us so warmly with the biggest, most genuinely joyful smile, and showed us his family’s farm. Though almost completely surrounded by large, growing settlements, his family has legal papers documenting their title to the 100-acre hillside farm dating back to the Ottoman Empire.

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