I see that the abortion debate has once again been in the news. As Christians, we usually take the stance for no abortions. But is making abortion illegal the right stance to take?
The birthplace of Jesus is a place of oppression, dispossession and occupation. Read some of the posters that reveal how the Separation Wall affects people’s lives and a glimpse into how Christmas is celebrated by Palestinian Christians and Muslims in Bethlehem.
Posters on the Separation Wall in Bethlehem tell the stories of lives affected. The place where Jesus was born is a place of oppression, occupation and injustice.
Bethlehem, the place where the Prince of Peace was born, is also a place of oppression, dispossession and apartheid. On the Wall are posters with stories of how Christmas is celebrated by Palestinian Christians and Muslims and how the Wall has affected their lives.
Editor’s note: An Israeli group called “Breaking the Silence” is currently taking 24 novelists through the West Bank as research for an upcoming book of essays marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. American writer Ayelet Walman, head of the project, says the book will not analyze the conflict but simply bear witness to these questions: What does occupation look like? What does it feel like to live under occupation? The collection will be published in 2017 by HarperCollins.
One of Christian Courier’s staff members, Ineke Medcalf, has travelled to the West Bank four times in the past three years. The following narrative does the same thing: it bears witness to what life is like in the West Bank today; it is, as Walman calls it, “Occupation 101.”
After being in the West Bank, I wondered what has become of the promise of peace and goodwill. I have wondered where God is in all of this. I came here to observe life under occupation and in my actions show Christ. But instead I have felt empty and disheartened.
I recently spent three months in the West Bank as an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) (see CC “A glimmer of hope,” January 26, 2015). My task was to witness life under occupation, record human rights abuses and provide protective presence in vulnerable communities. EAs also engage with both Israelis and Palestinians in seeking a just peace and an end to the occupation.
On January 7, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be welcoming a new member soon – Palestine. On April 1, 2015, Palestinians will be able to pursue, and be subject to, war-crime charges.
Membership in the ICC has been perceived, more importantly, as a stepping stone to acquiring statehood for Palestine, a bid the UN Security Council has so far rejected.
But behind this political maneuvering are the regular people who live there – in Jerusalem, in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Many people, and not always the ones you might expect, are working for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine, as Christian Courier’s staff member found as she journeyed through these conflict-ridden lands.
Here are the stories of the people she met.
–Angela Reitsma Bick, Editor
Ineke Medcalf, a Christian Courier staff member, is going to the West Bank for three months to serve as an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA). CC sat down with Ineke to find out more about her trip, just days before she left on October 15.
In a few weeks I will be travelling to the West Bank on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC). I’ll be participating in a programme as an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA) to support and advocate for Palestinians and record human rights violations.