Dear Brothers and Sisters,


With the onset of spring and Holy Week approaching, it is a time for renewed Hope in spite of a long cold winter and seemingly intractable violence in many parts of the Middle East.  


We saw a glimmer of that this past week with the announcement by White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, who publically declared that the Israeli Occupation "must end."

However, "Hope", like that little mustard seed, is something, that needs to be nurtured and tended to.Last July, during the attack on Gaza, I had organized a delegation that nurtured this most recent hopeful White House Declaration last July.  



Along with His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Father Michael McDonagh, International Advisor to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, we met with Mr. McDonough and discussed a variety of issues including the desperate situation in Gaza, the residential policies in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinian Christians and historic churches.



At that time, we reported back that "the opportunity to meet the Chief of Staff, who is the closest advisor to President Obama, and discuss the situation from the perspective of Palestinians is an enormous step on the path to better policies, and ultimately to a just and lasting peace." 


Mr. McDonough's announcement last week proved that this was an enormous step after all.However, it was neither the first nor will it be the last. Rather, it is the culmination of many gardeners who sowed the seed of truth and justice with perseverance and patience.


And this work is not done. Mr. McDonough's announcement this week should inspire us to remain steadfast and not lose faith. To continue with expressing our faith and thirst for peace in advocacy, charity and prayer. 


This is, after all, what it means to be an "Easter" people. 


Reflection by, Rateb Y. Rabie , KCHS, HCEF President and CEO