Magazine article Anglican Journal

Amid Palestinians' Despair, One Sees Signs of Hope

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Amid Palestinians' Despair, One Sees Signs of Hope

Article excerpt

I AM IN PALESTINE with the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) this year from Christmas until the beginning of Lent. By the time you read this, you will be observing the Lenten season. Being in this place at this time of year when we follow Jesus' footsteps through his life has given rise to some thoughts. First we think of Jesus' life journey, of the decisions he made, of how he confronted the situation of human violence and alienation, and of how through him we are reconciled to God. Then we are led to think of our own life journey as we seek to follow him. Then we may think of our part in the whole human story, and especially, for someone in Palestine, of the faith journey of the three Abrahamic communities. Jews, Christians, and Muslims share a story, recorded in the Bible and the Qur'an, which has been a source of blessing, but which has also included much violence. We need to learn how to deal with this.

I enjoy being in Hebron, where the CPT team is based. I like greeting people and being greeted by them, meeting old friends and making new ones. This is a beautiful old city and it is good to be part of the life here. But there is a darker side to life here. There are the ongoing hardships of living under the Israeli occupation. These have been intensified by the economic boycott imposed by western governments, including that of Canada, because they disapproved of the choices the Palestinian people made in a democratic election last January. Schools and hospitals struggle to survive, and economic life is affected. There is an atmosphere of discouragement and sometimes even of despair. Both Palestinians and Israelis have suffered from violence.

However, even in the midst of discouragement, one sees signs of hope. On Dec. 26 we received a call from the Israeli Committee against Home Demolitions informing us that the Israeli military was demolishing grape vines in the rural community of Umm Salamuna near Hebron. …

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