Tag Archives: Palestinian-Israeli

wish I were there

21 Aug

Postcards sometimes come in the mail with a message from our friends, “Wish you were here.”

I am hoping my friends in the town of Beit Jala, in the area of Bethlehem, in the West Bank of Palestine, will see this message, sent by me to them, “Wish I were there.”

I wish I were there.

I wish I were there with you in Cremisan Valley.

I wish I were there with you to prayerfully protest the taking of your land.

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I wish I were there with you, as the Israeli government under the protection of the Israeli Defense Forces starts again to uproot your olive trees, to clear the way for the separation wall that they prepare to build on your land.

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I wish I were there to genuflect with you and your priests before the altar, decorated with new olive trees in front of it and Israeli soldiers behind it; before the altar, on which rests that blue ceramic chalice that was the gift of our parish and our teachers to you, when we celebrated Mass with you in that same valley. 082115 11222005_980856798657888_5074133491311356836_n

I wish I were there to stand beside your Catholic parish priest as he stands in front of – and stands up to – the Israeli soldiers.

082115 11887968_1097448430284141_441573760240644836_nI wish I were there with you in Cremisan Valley.

I wish I were there.

(Unfamiliar with the news story of August 18, 2015: see Israel resumes work on controversial separation wall in Cremisan ​​valley.)

to break the spiral of hatred and violence by one word alone: the word “brother”

17 Jul

Many, all too many, of those children have been innocent victims of war and violence, saplings cut down at the height of their promise. 

 

Dear Presidents, our world is a legacy bequeathed to us from past generations, but it is also on loan to us from our children: our children who are weary, worn out by conflicts and yearning for the dawn of peace, our children who plead with us to tear down the walls of enmity and to set out on the path of dialogue and peace, so that love and friendship will prevail.

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I am profoundly grateful to you for accepting my invitation to come here and to join in imploring from God the gift of peace.  It is my hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of a new journey where we seek the things that unite, so as to overcome the things that divide. 

Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare.  It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity.  All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity.

 

History teaches that our strength alone does not suffice.  More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it.  That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God.  We do not renounce our responsibilities, but we do call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples.  We have heard a summons, and we must respond.  It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word “brother”.  But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father.