a time for peace

– standing against occupation

on the road

This weekend, I’ve been in Hebron, a busy city in the southern part of the West Bank, where I stayed with the EA Team who serve there – and I visited the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, shopped in the Souk (market) in the Old City that has been devastated by the Occupation, and met some of the fanatical settlers that have moved in and are causing such unrest in this Muslim city.  On Shabbat, after their family dinner, they go out for a stroll tohurl rocks into Palestinian houses and intimidate everyone they meet. Midweek, they focus their attacks on young girls walking to school or on farmers trying to work in their fields.  Settlers are by far, the scariest people in Israel-Palestine – even the IDF soldiers are too afraid to stop them! The Hebron Team has a difficult job as they confront religious fanaticism every single day.  I’m still processes my encounter with a settler who threatened me with an enormous gun (AK-47?) and demanded I honor Shabbat and stop using a camera to record his bad behavior! I got the whole thing on tape as I scurried behind the human line of internationals! 🙂 

While I was there, we also traveled south to Susiya, a village south of Yatta, whose Bedouin-type community is being targeted by other settlers.  The EA Team travels down every Friday and spends the night in this rather primitive village to offer protection to them from different settlers who are doing everything they can to force the people off their land, again, especially on Shabbat. Saturday, a group from Ta’ayush (Israeli peacemakers) came down with a water tank truck and we supported the Palestinians who needed to enter a newly declared “military zone” to access a Palestinian well. After a rather volatile beginning with the army, police and settlers getting involved, the army declared a military emergency and all of the internationals were thrown out of the village, but the water was transferred to the village cistern. After hiding out for a couple hours in the hills, we met up again and celebrated the victory on our trip back to Hebron.

How people (sadly, most of whom are from America) who have chosen to live in the Holy Land of Israel because of their religious beliefs, can use those beliefs and their understanding of their place as the chosen ones of God to cause such hardship and hurtfulness, especially on Shabbat, is hard for me to understand.  That they get away with it, is unconscionable – not only for the Israeli military and government who do nothing to stop them, but also for the many wealthy American Zionist Jews and Christians who actively support this kind of behavior.

Today, though I am saddened, I am also glad to be here doing something to balance the American reputation, and having a chance to return good for evil on behalf of a God who loves us all – and simply wants us to do the same, especially on the day God gives us to rest and focus on our relationship with God and each another.

peace/salaam – Pastor Pat

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October 6, 2008 - Posted by | Israel, Occupation, Palestine, peace, Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. PR. Pat; I’m reading all your blogs. Your experiences are mind blowing. The pictures are a great help in getting some kind of a mental picture of where you are. We can only pray for the success of your mission and all of theEA’s safety. Loved the postcard! Love and prayers, Pat F.

    Comment by Pat F. | October 7, 2008 | Reply

  2. Pastor Pat, Besides the very threatening settler you mention, do you have any opportunity to talk to any other Jewish settlers who are more friendly? I am curious how they explain their oppressive behavior towards the Muslim people. Do they consider the oppression part of their role as chosen people?

    You remain in our prayers as you continue with the work you have been called to do. Stay safe.

    Comment by Laura | October 7, 2008 | Reply

  3. OK, that was a scary report to read, Pat. Thank you for serving Christ so faithfully — and for working to redeem the picture of America that those cocky emigrant colonists there apparently have created. Laura and I are proud to know someone so brave, and we’re praying for the health & safety of your whole team, as well.

    Comment by Dan | October 9, 2008 | Reply

  4. I have to agree w/PDan. You are most certainly stepping outside your comfort zone. It seems so far away, but when I read your blog it feels very real. . .and a little frightening. Be safe and we’ll continue to pray for you, daily, and those you are assisting.

    Comment by Lori Bedwell | October 10, 2008 | Reply


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