In the various troubled spots of our world there has been a courageous group of men and women, trained in non-violence, who have gone to Haiti, to Columbia, Chiapas, Puerto Rico, and in 1995 they were invited by Mayor Natshe of Hebron, here in the West Bank of Palestine, to come and make their presence felt in this ancient town.
In the various troubled spots of our world there has been a courageous group of men and women, trained in non-violence, who have gone to Haiti, to Columbia, Chiapas, Puerto Rico, and in 1995 they were invited by Mayor Natshe of Hebron, here in the West Bank of Palestine, to come and make their presence felt in this ancient town. These men and women of the Christian Peacemaker Team, are not connected to any particular country or any particular religious denomination. They are Christians who take Jesus’ message of peace seriously and walk into areas of conflict to offer a non-violent presence, risking their lives for peace.
In the ancient town of Hebron the Palestinians welcomed them with typical Palestinian hospitality, while the Jewish settlers have refused to accept the Christian Peacemaker Team and still call them “Nazis”, among other non-complimentary names. Today the Team is made up of six people form Canada and the United States: a Basililan priest, a Mercy sister and four lay people, who intervene between the settlers of Hebron and the native Palestinians. The Team lives together as a community in an apartment building in the most troubled area of downtown Hebron. Every morning they meet together for prayer and then go out as “peacemakers”.
When Hebron is quiet, they leave and travel to other troubled areas under Israeli occupation. They have been in the Bethlehem area which is constantly under fire from the Israeli army, staying with families whose homes have become targets; they have marched in various demonstrations, and simply been were they were needed, being present and suffering with the oppressed.
The Christian Peacemaker Team is made up of “full-timers”, those who make this work their full-time occupation, entering the country on a tourist visa and staying the full three months; then going back to their homelands for a month or so, before returning to the Peacemaker Team. There are also “reservists” who have full time jobs elsewhere and respond to a call when they are needed.
The Team is in very volatile situations here in this country and has often faced the Israeli army. Many people have thanked God that these Peacemakers have come here to be a non-violent presence, a message of hope and peace in this conflict. Lord, make us instruments of your peace.