Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Bethlehem Besieged

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Bethlehem Besieged

Article excerpt

The Rev. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Bethlehem's Christmas Lutheran Church, visited Washington, DC from June 7 to 10 to promote his new book, Bethlehem Besieged. The book recounts Israel's 2002 invasion of Bethlehem and the injustices the town has suffered since, mainly from construction of the Separation Wall.

During each of his talks, Raheb stressed the need to humanize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Heads of state, he said, manage-but don't solve-the conflict. Many people view the conflict in mathematical or theoretical terms, forgetting that humans are involved. "People today are used to hearing 'breaking news' or seeing 'live events,' and think they better understand what is happening," Raheb remarked. "But often their hearts are not touched. This conflict is about human beings ... both sides are paying the price."

Raheb described his book as "narrative theology," written for the average man or woman in the pew, and as a source for interfaith, peace and justice, and educational groups. Half of the stories in the book, he said, are "glimpses of hope. …

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