Monday, June 30, 2008

Sabeel presents `Beyond Remembrance: Facing the Challenges of the Future Sixty Years After the Nakba'

I encourage anyone to take part in Sabeel's annual conference in Jerusalem. This year's theme, Beyond Remembrance: Facing the Challenges of the Future Sixty Years After the Nakba. Information and links are provided here.

Pilgrimage and Christian Witness Opportunity:
Seventh International Sabeel Conference

This link provides all relevant information, a pdf file of the brochure, and registration form:

Beyond Remembrance: Facing the Challenges of the Future Sixty Years After the Nakba
November 12-19, 2008

Mark your calendars, and spread the word! The conference will focus on the commemoration of 60 years since the Nakba, and the complex issues of memory, narrative, and identity raised by the events of 1948. The conference will include: 4 nights in Nazareth, with trips to villages that were destroyed in 1948 and visits with the local Christian community; 4 nights in Jerusalem, with trips to Jaffa, Ramle, and Lidda; Lectures, workshops, discussions, and cultural events focusing on the last 60 years and the future for Christians living in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories; Optional pre-conference travel to holy sites in the Galilee; Optional post-conference travel to understand the Occupation including visits to holy sites in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Troubled Past, Complex Future
Among those who struggle for justice and peace in Palestine, our focus has been the fight to end the illegal Occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, in order to truly understand the complexities of memory, narrative, and identity faced by the Palestinian community, it is vital to examine the events of 1948—what the Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, or Catastrophe. For 60 years, the Nakba has cast its shadow over the struggles of identity and narrative undertaken both by Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel and those in the Occupied Territories. As the nonviolent resistance to Occupation continues, the question of what it means to be a Palestinian remains.

As Israel begins its celebration of 60 years since independence, the Palestinian community will commemorate 60 years since the Nakba. During this important year, Sabeel believes that it is vital to examine the impact of 1948 on the quest for justice and peace in the Holy Land. It is only by examining and understanding the past that the Christian community—and, indeed, all people of this land—can begin to move towards a future of justice and reconciliation. For Palestinian Christians, and those Christians who are now citizens of the state of Israel, the question of identity becomes even more complex. As this community continues to address identity crisis, it also questions what resources within its past can enable to it to construct a more just and hopeful future.

In addition to the question of identity, this conference provides an opportunity to address the ongoing refugee crisis which had its genesis in the Nakba. As Christians, we must face the challenge of finding a just resolution to the longest standing refugee crisis in the world today. This conference will provide an opportunity to hear directly from the refugees, and to explore options for a just and hopeful future for these Palestinians.

Sabeel believes that Christians are called to prophetically speak of justice and hope in the face of injustice and hopelessness. While memories of 1948 are often shocking and disturbing, the necessity of shining the light of justice and truth on the events of the past remains. By so doing, Sabeel hopes to forge a path from remembrance to justice and mercy and to challenge Christians and the global community to come to terms with 1948, to have a better understanding of the Palestinian Christian community inside the state of Israel, and to find a just solution to the refugee crisis.

The Questions
+ What truly happened in 1948, and what did the Nakba mean for Palestinians?
+ How have the events of 1948 shaped the complex identities of modern Palestinians and Israelis, and especially Christians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel?
+ Why has the refugee crisis remained unresolved for 60 years, and what can churches and the international community do to promote a just resolution of this situation?
+ How will the events of 1948 continue to effect the quest for a just peace in Palestine and Israel?
+ What do the events of 1948 reveal about injustice within Israel in addition to the injustice of the Occupation?
+ How can those who seek justice for Palestinians as well as Israelis face the truth of 1948 while moving beyond memory to justice and reconciliation?

The Forum
These are some of the questions we will address at our Seventh International Conference. A roster of respected theologians, academics and activists from around the world will gather in Nazareth and Jerusalem in November 2008 to lead panel discussions, lectures, workshops, bible study and worship. Participants from many countries and a variety of faith denominations will have an unparalleled opportunity to learn, share insights, and work together.

The Invitation
We invite you to be a part of this important conference through your financial support. Your generosity can enable us to:
- Organize and facilitate an international dialogue on these challenging questions
- Host prophetic speakers from around the world.
- Provide assistance to participants from developing countries.
- Publish the conference proceedings so that others may benefit from what has been learned.

To provide a tax-deductible financial contribution for this important international conference, mail your gift to Friends of Sabeel—North America with a note stating it is for the "7th International Conference." Mail to Friends of Sabeel, PO Box 9186, Portland, OR 97207.

For more information, email: or call: (972) 2-532-7136 in Jerusalem.

For prices and information about registration, etc., please go to

For questions, contact or

Air Travel:
You may arrange your own air travel or make flight arrangements through Shepherds Tours of Jerusalem:
Shepherds Tours
9 Azzahra Str.
P.O. Box 19560
Tel: 972-2-6284121
Fax: 972-2-6280251

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