WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW
Things I’ve learned on this Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation:
Any Jewish person has the right of return, return to a place she or her family has never been. No Palestinian person has the right to return to the place of her birth or her family home.
Opposing the expansion of Zionism is not anti-Semitic. Zionism is based on land control by one group and displacement of another. The problem is Israeli Zionists came to Palestinian land and claimed it was theirs. Before Zionism, Muslims, Christians and Jews got along. There is enough space for everyone to live together. The struggle is political, not religious.
A settlement is a large new town/city on a hilltop spreading down the sides. It has street lights and smoothly paved roads. It has electricity, running water, a swimming pool, play areas.
Many Palestinian refugee camps look like poor city neighborhoods with unpaved uneven streets, ramshackle lighting, rooftop cisterns for water that has become more or less permanent because the people long for but are barred from going back to where they or their families came from.
WHAT I SEE
Things I’ve seen on this Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation:
A farm family that time and again has had to prove its legal rights to the land they have worked for generations. They have no running water or electricity. They look out and all around see the new houses of the new towns creeping closer.
We are told they are all terrorists, that we need to be protected from them. I see and hear from women and men who speak of peaceful resistance. People who are earnest, compassionate, thoughtful, committed to justice, freedom, hope. People who are humane and smart. People who say "EXISTENCE IS RESISTANCE."
And what they ask is to "tell our story."