While waiting at JFK airport in New York for our flight to Tel Aviv, we shared space with many families of the Hasidic tradition. People young and old filled the room with conversation and children playing. At one point, several of the men came to one side and conducted their evening prayer, with Peter sitting in their midst. It was good to be surrounded by prayer! The flight that followed was restful.
When we arrived at Ben Gurion Airport inTel Aviv, we breezed through customs with no questions asked. A bus took us an hour away to the Old City of Jerusalem What a joy for us to be back in Jerusalem, the City of Peace, the city of three Faiths, AND a city of contradictions.
Here, Gaza is in the hearts of many. Both Palestinian and Israeli, expressed horror over the destruction of Gaza that happened during Operation Cast Lead, December 27 – January18, 2009. A cook in a restaurant where we had dinner said, “We saw what they did to Gaza, and we know this could happen to us!” Some people we trust are saying that in the very near future Israel will attack Gaza again through an air strike campaign.
On February 11, we met with the Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem who was recently in Gaza. He was deeply touched by the suffering of the people, and by their strength, goodness and resilience. He said Gazans are making every effort to carry on with their daily lives, in spite of the destruction. Following this meeting, we traveled to Bethlehem to meet with peacemaker friends who continue to do the works of peace with justice.
During our short time here, we are also learning that Israelis, Palestinians, and Internationals living in the Holy Land are very hopeful that President Obama will help end the Israeli Palestinian conflict and make positive changes in US policy in the Middle East. The extent of their hope is striking.To us it is clear that this hope places a heavy burden on USA citizens to urge our government to help end the conflict andmake needed positive changes.
At regular intervals we are calling Erez to find out if we can pass into Gaza. In the meantime being in close proximity enables us to be in telephone conversations with our Gazan friends…
- Peter and Liz
Posted by Meta Peace Team Newsletter Working Group Labels: special peace team to Gaza