Below are two short excerpts shared by members of the Pax Christi International delegation in Israel-Palestine.

by Stephen Oldham
Theology Teacher, St. Joseph’s Prep School, Philadelphia

Recently constructed Israeli settlement in the Occupied West Bank.
Recently constructed Israeli settlement in the Occupied West Bank.

Today the landscape draws a complex picture of Palestinian apartment complexes divided by walls and fences from Israeli settlements on the upper hills. We learned about the high unemployment rate, the Israeli control of the water, electricity and fuel resources and the everyday struggles of living in an occupied land…

The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation attempts to reconnect Palestinian Christians living in the diaspora to their homeland in Palestine. Approximately 120,000 Palestinians are living around Bethlehem with about 2 percent being Christian today. More than 300,000 have left the area to immigrate to Chile and other South American countries seeking a better, more just life.

Except for Easter and Christmas, most Palestinians cannot travel to Jerusalem. Those given permits (to travel) are usually over 40 years old, married with children, with no criminal record. Those who build the (Israeli) settlements (in the Occupied Territories) can not live there…

Stephen is keeping a personal blog during the trip. You can click here to read more of his reflections.

By Jean Sammon
Pax Christi Metro D.C.-Baltimore

We are listening to a lot of Palestinians, in this land of Jesus. They, like Jesus, are oppressed by an occupying force. We hear about restrictions on where they can live, work, and travel, and how the occupiers control the water and electricity, and even their land.

At a refugee camp today — which is surrounded by walls — the resident we were listening to said that people ask him, “Why don’t you leave this place?” He pointed to a tree that was growing out of concrete, and said, “Like that tree, we will continue here until we are free to return to our land.”

It is inspiring how committed they are to working for justice for their people while they continue to carry their cross.

Click here to see more information on the delegation, including photos, additional posts, background info, etc.

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