“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Praying at the Wall

In the Holy Land there are many walls and of all kinds. Palestinians often ask themselves if being walled in or out is the way of life since for many of them, particularly the young, the Wall has become part of their physical and psychological setting.
Dr. Bernard Sabella

news – HCEF

Someone just told me that the best thing the Palestinian Authority can do, aside from unifying the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, would be to announce a hefty prize for practical ideas to bring down the Separation Wall. Anyone or any interested companies and parties worldwide can apply and an international board would determine the winner. When I asked my ingenious acquaintance on what to do with the concrete that would be left out when the Wall is brought down, he suggested shipping it to Holland to make more land and/or examine the possibility of making more land off Gaza shore.

Ideas like this, though they may appear out of touch with reality, simply emphasize that Walls are not and cannot be the way to live out our lives, not now and not in the future. Irrespective of the pretenses, pretexts, justifications presented for building “political and psychological” walls, they remain unconvincing. Similarly, embargoes or sieges that wall in people and deny them basic necessities are also obsolete in terms of political return. The example of Gaza tells of a 1.4 million convincing reason why the Israeli siege on the Strip has failed miserably. An American Jewish rabbi on a visit to the Holy Land went to Bethlehem and as he saw and stood by the Wall, he started crying. I could not believe his reaction and I thought he was feigning it to please me and the other Palestinians around. No, he said, it is simply a horrible barrier and I could not have imagined it so. Some would say that the example of this Rabbi is simply one of out of million but in reality it is an example that says what any decent person would say: no future for Israelis and Palestinians with this Wall.

Aside from putting the blame on Palestinian and Israeli politicians who have not actually moved towards a political solution, in spite of over a dozen visits to the region by Condoleezza Rice, two visits by President Bush and over 216 bilateral meetings between Palestinian and Israeli negotiations since Annapolis, the realities on the ground point to the fact that the Israelis have turned their backs on their Palestinian neighbors by constructing the Wall. In addition, settlers in the West Bank continue to expand and terrorize their Palestinian neighbors as they wish them away from their own land, villages, olive trees and other means of subsistence. In Hebron, the example of a Jewish religious community imposing its own walls and siege on the Old Town of Hebron with hundreds of Arab shops closed is another example where the Israeli state, with its military and security machine, is complacent. Not to speak of the Arab Eastern part of Jerusalem and its many wounds: demolition of homes, eviction of Arab families among whom the Al Kurd family in the Sheik Jarrah quarter stands out; withdrawal of Identity Cards to reduce the numbers of Palestinians living in the city; discrimination in municipal, educational and other services and the exclusion of close to 100,000 Jerusalem Palestinians on the other side of the Wall in order to maintain the demographic balance between Jews and Arabs in the city.

The power of prayer, particularly in difficult situations, always comes to bear. We may not need to go around the Wall and the other Walls that separate all of us here seven times and to blow the horns or trumpets as we do this, but we need to work as we pray in order to get more and more people here and abroad to understand the future calamity that awaits all of us here if the present course of building walls is not changed and if Israeli occupation is not ended. The Walls around us will not fall flat if we all do not pray and work to make the walls within us disappear.

2016-10-24T07:27:47+00:00 November 25th, 2008|Categories: News|