Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Inter-Faith Peace Builders

The IFPB Olive Harvest delegation has arrived in Jerusalem! I've been following these trips for a while, check out the delegates' first report....

IFPB Report #1

I haven't learned about East Jerusalem in a long time. I almost avoid it, it makes me so sad...

We met last night with several Sheikh Jarrah Palestinian residents at the home of Nabeel Al-Kurd. As we entered his yard, we saw a Sukkah (a Sukkot booth) draped with an Israeli flag partially covering “Free Palestine” graffiti.

We learned that Israeli settlers had seized and for many months now had been occupying the front part of Nabeel’s house. Nabeel greeted us and led us along the pathway to a patio by the back of his house. As we walked, a dog barked fiercely from inside the front of the house, jumping up and disturbing the window curtains.

We were joined by other Sheikh Jarrah residents, women who with their families had been evicted from their homes at five in the morning on August 2, 2009. They told of “savage” evictions, with Israeli commandos with guns closing off the neighborhood, breaking down their doors, pulling them and their children out of their homes, and throwing their furniture in to the streets. Within hours Israeli settlers had moved themselves and their furniture in. Click here for photos.

For over six months, these families then lived in tents outside their now-occupied houses. Even these tents were then repeatedly destroyed (for one woman’s family, 17 different times) with their possessions taken and destroyed. With each demolition, they were fined 500 shekels. As these neighbors spoke with us, Nabeel pointed out surveillance cameras that the Israeli government has placed all over the neighborhood. “We are famous,” one of the Palestinians joked.

The stories were heartbreaking. How do these Palestinians sustain themselves and keep hope, we asked. Nabeel stood tall as he said, “This is our place, these are our homes, this is our right, and we believe in that.”

An elderly Palestinian woman added, “The more we are pressured, the stronger we are.”

- Allie Perry

No, I don't see beauty in the unification (Judaization) of Jerusalem. It wasn't meant to be that way.