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I became personally involved in questions of justice in Palestine/Israel because of a friendship with someone who grew up and went to the Catholic school in Jerusalem. He had to leave in 1967 and has no right of return to his home. It is a great sadness for him. Now he does not want to go back because he would not be able to bear going there while his homeland is under Israeli military occupation.

In October 2015, I joined a Christian Peacemaker Teams Delegation to Israel/Palestine.

In October 2015, I joined a Christian Peacemaker Teams Delegation to Israel/Palestine to see with my own eyes what is transpiring there. We heard from many people, including Palestinian refugees, victims of home demolitions, families forced off their farms or whose olive trees have been destroyed, young Israeli people that refused to join the armed forces, and lawyers seeking fair treatment for children incarcerated and tortured. We served as an international presence at the systematic inhumane treatment at military checkpoints, which is worst in the ancient city of Hebron.

If you were on a typical pilgrimage tour you likely would not see areas like Hebron. So we promised the people that we would tell their stories.

If you were on a typical pilgrimage tour you likely would not see areas like Hebron.

We need to tell their stories in public meetings to make our politicians aware of the struggles of Palestinians that are seldom heard in North America. In the U.S., people need to be reminded that $4 billion of their tax dollars goes to Israel for arms and separation walls, making life difficult for Palestinians.

So some of us host honest discussions at our universities and colleges about the challenges of the present situation. Some of us write or visit our Members of Parliament or Congress to share with them about the injustices taking place. And some of us are so overwhelmed by the news that we disengage from seeking to understand or respond to the conflict.

It is important to remember that all the people of the "Holy Land" suffer.

It is important to remember that all the people of the "Holy Land" suffer. The Israelis suffer from their persistent feelings of insecurity, in spite of having the most powerful armed forces in the region. The Palestinians suffer because of the oppressive occupation. In places like Gaza, they are effectively living in open air prisons.

The celebrated Israeli writer David Grossman, whose own son Uri was killed in the second Lebanon War in 2006, addressed Israelis and Palestinians at the recent Memorial Day event at the same time as Israel was celebrating their 70th Independence Day. Here are his words, as printed in the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz":


What is a home?

Home is a place whose walls and borders are clear and accepted; whose existence is stable,solid, relaxed; whose inhabitants know its intimate codes; whose relations with its neighbors

have been settled.

It projects a sense of future.


And we Israelis, even after 70 years, no matter how many words dripping with patriotic honey will be uttered in the coming days, we are not yet there.

We are not yet home. Israel was established so that the Jewish people, who have nearly never felt at-home-in-the-world, would finally have a home..

And now, 70 years later, strong Israel may be a Fortress, but is not yet a Home.


The solution to the great complexity of Israeli-Palestinian relations can be summed up in one short formula:

if Palestinians don't have a home, the Israelis won't have a home either.

The opposite is also true: if Israel will not be a home, then neither will Palestine.


When Israel occupies and oppresses another nation, for 51 years, and creates an apartheid reality in the occupied territories--it becomes a lot less of a home.

And when Minister of Defense Lieberman decides to prevent peace-loving Palestinians from attending a gathering like ours, Israel is less of a home.


When Israeli snipers kill dozens of Palestinian protesters, most of them civilians--Israel is less of a home.

Israel is painful for us. Because it is not the home we want it to be."

My hope for the future lies in the younger generations of U.S and Canadian Jews, as they turn away from the older generation's rhetoric. I find hope in people turning to independent news sources to hear voices that they would not otherwise be exposed to. And I see hope in congregations inviting the many capable speakers who stand for justice and peace to speak in our churches and at our events.

My hope for the future lies in the younger generations of U.S and Canadian Jews.

I encourage young and old to contact Churches for Middle East Peace or Resonate to go to Israel/Palestine and see what I describe here!


This is the fifth post in our 6-part series Israel-Palestine: The View From Here. Don't want to miss a post? Join in here (or at the button below) for weekly email updates


Editor's note: The Middle East Study Trip report concluded that the major contribution the CRC can make as agencies, institutions, and individuals is to raise awareness of the plight of Palestinians -- particularly our sisters and brothers in Christ -- among our members and friends. Its recommendations were accepted by the Board of Trustees (now the Council of Delegates) on behalf of Synod, and were subsequently implemented. To learn more about how the Christian Reformed Church thinks about injustice and the persecution of the Church, see the Belhar Confession and the Belgic Confession, respectively. 

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