Monday, October 21, 2013

Holy Land travel, Chicago Sabeel Conference, Israeli army in Hebron, and more

Greetings friends.  In a few months our Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area (ELCA Synod) will send a delegation of travelers to Israel and Palestine for 13 days. Our tour is called Seeking Peace and Following Jesus in the Holy Land.  
A web page at ELCA Peace Not Walls provides outstanding resources for Holy Land travelers.
Why Visit the Holy Land?

•For an unforgettable, faith-deepening pilgrimage to the setting of Jesus' life and ministry

•To meet, worship with, and get to know the descendants of the first Christians

•To build a relationship with the members and leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and see how the world's only Arabic-speaking Lutheran church ministers to its context

•To experience the daily lives and challenges of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Holy Land

•To go behind the headlines and inform yourself about a political situation of significance to the world

•To learn about efforts toward a permanent and just peace.
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Chicago Sabeel Conference October 4-5, 2013

All the plenary sessions at the recent Sabeel Conference in Chicago were videotaped. To watch and listen, go to this link at the Friends of Sabeel-North America website. Click "7 updates" to view recordings of the plenary sessions. You must set up a Livestream account to screen these presentations, but that's a simple process and gives you easy access. 

Keynoters and panelists include Rabbi Brant Rosen, Dr. Hatem Bazyan, Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, Ali Abunima, Sam Bahour and others discussing the challenges of constructing a "wide tent of Justice" in the Holy Land and here in the USA.

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First-hand report of recent events in Hebron
Tammie Danielsen, SW Texas Synod, shares a personal account of events that have happened over the last two weeks in Palestine, particularly in Hebron.  

Tammie writes: The message comes from an organization we (EAPPI) worked with closely when I was in Hebron.

Dear friends,
As Palestinians across Palestine took to the streets in a day for Al Quds (Jerusalem), the capital of Palestine, residents of Hebron stood firm against attacks by the Israeli Army. A number of young Palestinians were injured as the Army opened fire with live ammunition against unarmed protestors.

As in previous days, clashes between Palestinian youths and the Army focussed in the middle of the city, as camp the refugee camp in the east of the city. A young child, Musab, was hit in the eye and was transferred for treatment to the Eye Hospital Jerusalem.
The Army used live ammunition, rubber coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. In the confines of the narrow city streets it can only be concluded they disregarded Palestinians lives. As a result there were a number of injuries, in addition to the young Musab. At the time of writing 12 have been injured: Mohammed (20 years old) injured in his neck and back; Mohammed with a head injury; Mohammed Jabari injured by a rubber coated steel bullet to his head; and an unidentified young man injured in the Shalaldeh street area with live ammunition. 
Shadi Sidr, a volunteer with the group, Youth Against Settlements (YAS) was also beaten by the Army while filming the attacks. He has been taken to hospital for treatment. Many more residents suffered tear gas inhalation. 
The ferocity of the Army's actions and use of live ammunition against unarmed protestors, appears to indicate the Army's desire to murder.
Hebron is in a state of boiling fury since the uprising days earlier. There numerous injuries and violent confrontations continue at the time of writing.
Illegal settlers reside inside Hebron, and residents are subject to regular Army and settler violence. Streets and areas are closed to Palestinians as Israelis policy of occupation, oppression and Apartheid are practiced on the Palestinian population. 

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Watch for this new film: The Village Under the Forest

Where greening is an act of obliteration
[Marthie Momberg writes about a new film from South Africa in her blog, marthiemombergblog.]
Unfolding as a personal meditation from the Jewish Diaspora, "The Village Under The Forest" explores the hidden remains of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, which lies under a purposefully cultivated forest plantation called South Africa Forest.

Using the forest and the village ruins as metaphors, the documentary explores themes related to the erasure and persistence of memory and dares to imagine a future in which dignity, acknowledgement and co-habitation become shared possibilities in Israel/Palestine.

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Thirty-five years after Israeli confiscation, one Palestinian village returns to its land
Mondoweiss provided a recent story about a West Bank Palestinian village restored to its owners, no long an Israeli settlement or closed military zone.  

After 35 years, deliverance has finally come to the village of Burqa. Decades ago the West Bank hamlet on a hilltop near Nablus lost part of its agricultural grounds when it was confiscated for an Israeli army post, and then later converted into the settlement of Homesh in the 1980s. But in a first in the West Bank, Israel’s high court has restored the former settlement back to the original Palestinian owners.

“Homesh was evacuated and demolished, but still the military order to seize the land remained valid, and the Palestinians could not enter,” said Burqa’s counsel Anu Deuelle Luski, an attorney with the Israeli legal rights firm Yesh Din. [Read the full story here.]

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A Jewish journey towards compassion in Israel-Palestine

[Richard Forer, author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, writing for Ma'an News Agency.]

A Jewish journey towards compassion in Israel-Palestine
For the first 58 years of my life my perspective was that at its core, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people resulted from irrational, even genocidal, hatred toward Jews. 
In 2006, while Israel was bombing Lebanon, I began to ponder whether such a one-sided understanding reflected reality. Were the people of Israel so innocent and the Arab world, especially Palestinians, so guilty? 
Or was something missing from my understanding? I decided to find out. Thus began an intensive course of study into the history of Israel/Palestine. 
When I began my research, my uncompromising identification with Israel and the Jewish people encompassed countless beliefs and images. For example, I assumed that a significant part of the world's population held anti-Semitic views and that Israel, the Jewish home, was a shelter from a violent world.  
I had never questioned these beliefs, nor had I recognized that a disturbing corollary had been added to them: insuring Israel's existence justified its aggressive policies toward its neighbors and the Palestinians. [Read the full article at this link.]
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