Life has an interesting way of unfolding. Sometimes we plan for and anticipate an event, only to find that life situations change and our best laid plans go for nought. Then, much to our surprise, another door opens unveiling a wonderfully exciting opportunity.
And so I find myself in Palestine.
First off was a visit to Bethlehem to see the young boy who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier in February of 2013 as he and his brother were returning home (see March 2, 2013 post “One Bullet). Our Jerusalem EAPPI team accompanied him and his family through the initial weeks of his hospitalization. Sadly, today at 17, hemiplegic, with memory deficits and the bullet still in his head (doctors fear further damage should they remove it), he is not doing well. His family struggle to care for him and struggle to pay for the multiple extra expenses that are incurred by this life altering injury. There is no compensation from Israel to help with any of these costs, even though he clearly was an innocent young man who was intentionally shot at close range by an Israeli soldier. During my time here, I will attempt to explore options for assistance for this family.
The next day was a visit to Bedouin friends east of Jerusalem.Refugees to the area in the early 1950’s, they now find themselves facing a forced displacement against their will. Israel announced plans in September to move approximately 7000 Bedouin living east of Jerusalem to an area outside of Jericho, a move that would be disastrous for their livelihoods, culture, and traditional lifestyle. This move would be in direct contravention of International law, and has been condemned by 45 international humanitarian organizations and a number of governments. Nevertheless, Israel wants this Palestinian land for further settlement expansion and they seem intent on taking it. For an explanation of the implications of this move for the Bedouin people, please read a concise address given by Jameel Hamadin Jahalin to the Belgian foreign minister in December, 2013, found at http://www.jahalin.org. The United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI) has written a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking that he stand against this move and I encourage you to send a copy to your own MP. The letter can be found at http://www.unjppi.org.
Two days. Two slices of life and suffering under occupation.
The prophet Amos wrote in Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll on like a mighty river, righteousness like a never ending stream.” Centuries later, we sing the words of an African American spiritual ” Justice shall flow like a mighty river, justice shall flow like a mighty river, justice shall flow like a mighty river, justice like a river one of these days.”
May it be so.
Peace, Salaam, Shalom,