THE HOLY LAND,
Source: Custody of the Holy Land
Bethlehem 3 July 2005
Peace and all Good.
Last week it was more visible what we can expect during the pull out off Gaza. There are heavy emotions among the settlers. I will approach this issue from the opposite side thanks to a nice experience last Thursday. I was still in the Youth House in the late afternoon. Then a girl for the most 3 years old came into my office. In order to enter my office she must pass the door in the gate, walk about ten meters, pass the door of the house and the door of the office. She wasn’t afraid at all. Superficially I remember her that I saw her once. She feels her self fine and I played with her. It is not self-evident for children of her age to do such a thing. She must have seen me more often and felt herself save. I don’t think that she made some considerations to do this or not. When I look at the behaviour of the settlers on this level, I think that there happened the opposite. They observed threats for their life after centuries lasting anti-Semitism. The world around is a threat and every concession to the world around is a threat. Therefore the emotions are so heavy. Already a long time I wonder what the traumatic effect of this anti-Semitism on Jewish people has. Of course not every Jew reacts on the same way, but we have to take in account on which different ways they deal with this fact.
Last week I got twice a visit from members of the municipality of Al Doha. The visits were nice and could be helpful for further cooperation. The reason behind these visits was the activity of the women, who were preparing a summer camp for girls. They took contact with the municipality. The second visit last Saturday was for the summer camp helpful. I had already more than once asked the women about the budget. Finally they wrote the budget last Thursday and showed me the overall costs: about $ 4.000 and my reaction was simple: I don’t have that money. The biggest surprise was for me what they told me which should be the surprise for the volunteers without mentioning what the surprise was. Then finally they showed me the prise of $ 300 for every volunteer, 8 volunteers together. I told them that I have only € 1.000 available. The support from the side of the municipality reduces further costs, but still I don’t have such an amount.
When I oversee the whole, I have a good group of volunteers but there is also a price that must be paid for such a group. The importance of the group was visible on Friday when I went with the four women to a meeting for young Palestinians in Hebron. Two of them led the meeting, which they had prepared. The most interesting part of the meeting was a stock-taking of the problems as they see in their local community (Bethlehem, Hebron and Jenin). I heard the following points: unemployment, especially for who finished their studies, early marriage, traditions, drugs, city versus countryside, tribal system versus law, lack of enforcement of law by the Palestinian Authority, money meant for the youth remains in the hand of the government, no care for the youth who can’t finish their study. They will look how they can help each other for these issues. Maybe they will use my experiences with the drugs problems and about peace.
The young people from Nablus and Jericho couldn’t reach the meeting because of a rumour, that two Israeli soldiers should have been abducted by Palestinian groups, for which reason Nablus was closed and also a checkpoint near Bethlehem.
Saturday was a busy day for me. I had in the morning a meeting with the board of the custody to tell about the activities of the Commission for justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. The meeting was in Jerusalem and there I saw two Argentinean friars who returned from Egypt after one year study of the Arab language. It was good to see them again. From one of them I heard sad news about the Sudanese refugees. Their situation deteriorated and a centre for them has been closed and also they can’t sell their clothes in the street. Also a price for the peace in Sudan.
In the evening I visit a family from who the woman has Multiple Sclerose. She should go to the famous Hadassa hospital in Jerusalem for a special treatment.
On Friday brother Justino returned to Mexico after 30 years service to the Holy land. There was a last supper on Thursday evening. That was good. Greetings from Bethlehem, Louis