This is the problem with the Middle East, for every few steps that we take forward there are double those steps we take backwards when people decide to use violence as the answer. It’s absolutely so frustrating to live without freedom and under harsh military occupation but still we cannot condone violent action. After a long wait for the husband to come home, I understood it was going to be a long night since all the roads were closed looking for the people who killed four Israeli settlers in the West Bank. It’s the holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim world, why does anyone want to kill anyone during such a time?
Many Christians are often invited to break the daily fast with their Muslim colleagues in an effort to create good Muslim-Christians relations and thus my husband David as the mayor of Taybeh attended such an event in Jericho with many Palestinian ministers who often wine and dine together forgetting that eighty percent of Gaza does not have $2 a day. But the huge gap between the rich and the poor is only one of the many problems in Palestine. The division and disagreements among the many political parties makes Palestinian unity harder than ever to achieve.
Locked behind a huge wall we usually only experience the Israeli army attacking people and invading different areas. And it’s even a big joke to hear that at the White House very important negotiations will take place this first week of September between Israelis and Palestinians. Right here in front of our eyes more and more Israeli settlements are going up on the highest mountains tops in the West Bank so I am wondering which part of the 22% of historic Palestine will they negotiate when over half of this little portion is swallowed by fanatic hard core Israeli settlers who believe that God promised them this land and the rest of the people can go to hell.
And every day I wake up next to a man who was born without a country but the country is in his heart and has over six hundred years of family history in the small Christian village in Taybeh and he is simply living in hell right now but does not acknowledge it. He has the whole world coming down on his back and wearing him downward psychologically, socially, politically, economically and every which way you can think and literally this man keeps his hope and sees a light at the end of the tunnel and believe me that tunnel is so dark on the days you have to wait with anxiety over four hours for your loved ones to make it home safe. Finally after the Palestinian Authority captures over 150 people to interrogate, the Israeli army is willing to open the roads until the next time someone will be killed again.
Unfortunately, in this new month, in this new ecclesiastical year, we have just started the wrong way with a very violent approach. We have gone back eight years into another cycle of violence. We cry for peace, peace, peace but simply there is no peace in our world and basically it looks like it will stay this way. I must give President Obama credit for at least trying to bring enemies to the table. But there is nothing to talk about because when Palestinians are killed every day no one really pays attention. The White House photos will be lovely and great publicity for trying to negotiate a just peace but the real truth is that Israel is out to make 100% Jewish homeland and no one can stop them. And the only reason I am not so optimistic about Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas talking is that right outside my kitchen window the illegal Israeli settlement is bigger than ever and my daily reality is nothing what mass media reflects.
Our Christian tradition states that Christ entered the synagogue on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22) and we as Christians in the Holy Land will maintain the steadfastness to witness for Christ’s love and peace in this very violent land. May your ecclesiastical year be blessed and holy and thank you for remembering us in your prayers. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5)