We do not have much time here. That fact makes periods in limbo so frustrating. For the past week we have been between a team of three and a team of two.
Ten days ago our team anchors – Tom and Mary – left to return to the States, leaving us with three MPT Fall teamers, on-the-ground (“Katrina”, John and Sam). Two days later “Katrina” was arrested, and has been in an Israeli jail until early this morning, when she was released. “Free at last, Thank god almighty she is free at last.”
We will write a detailed report about her arrest, questioning, detainment, jail experience, legal issues, etc… but at this moment her case is still unresolved – like us she is also in limbo. So lets move past that for the moment and look back at a couple of the highlights/lowlights from this past week.
John and I had the immense pleasure of getting searched, down to our skivvy’s, not once but twice by Israeli border police. We were on our way to a court hearing for Katrina in Tel Aviv. At the “segregation border” we were pulled off the bus. The police held us there for an hour-and-a-half before turning us around and telling us to march back from whence we came. They patted us down, searched our belongings, and questioned us… over and over again. How could two Americans want to spend time in the “territories”? The border police are not stupid; they knew we were being a bit more than disingenuous. In hindsight it was a good experience to have, and I think we did well under the questioning glare of the fascist microscope. Sorry, that last bit might be over the top but it felt that way while it was happening.
Clear the pallet…
We also visited Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ and a place where the “segregation wall” snakes right through the middle of town.
I cannot say it was a spiritual experience for me to see the exact spot where Jesus was born, while I was hemmed in by hymn singers, candle holders, and photo-taking jostlers. But it was cool to be in a place that held so much significance for so many. After the Church we walked until we found the wall. Shockingly the amount of tourists had diminished by a factor of everyone. The wall was powerful for me. It symbolizes oppression, segregation and apartheid, which to me are antithetical to the message of Christ.
The wall itself is massive. As far as artists could reach they had spray-painted their responses to injustice and inequality. The creativity was joyful, the quotes were inspirational, and hope remained on the sheer, imposing, and otherwise sterile concrete face.
In closing, John and I are doing well, we are close to moving out of this limbo period. Yesterday we were able to harvest olives with a very kind Palestinian family. It feels really good to get back out there.