By Suzann Mollner, Executive Director of Beirut and Beyond
Early one morning last month, I was sitting at breakfast with Israeli and Palestinian women…as one does in Washington D.C. I was jetlagged and struggling to be alert; we all were for that matter. Somehow the topic of visiting all of them in Israel/Palestine came up. They knew I had been banned by Israel, which means I cannot enter Palestine, but they were formulating a plan. Both of the Israelis at the table told me to give their names as contacts, and said that I could stay with them. And a Palestinian chimed in, “and once you’re in…you’ll be with us.” Gesturing, “come on.” Meaning, you’ll be well taken care of by us Palestinians, but she knew I knew that.
I’m not sure they know how healing this 2-minute conversation was for me. Partly because they were trying to rectify a wrong done to me. Partly because they saw me. Partly because these are the very people caught in the everyday ins and outs of the Israel/Palestine conflict. The occupation of the West Bank directly affects their lives, and peacemaking has a real cost for them. But in that moment, they were thinking about how to get me, an American, in so we could be together. Read more
Mystic — Warren Clark, 81, a retired foreign service officer and ambassador, who lived in Mystic and Washington, D.C., died of cancer on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 with family by his side.
Ambassador Clark served between 1959 and 1963 on active duty in naval air intelligence based in Morocco, writing and giving briefings to Sixth Fleet commanders on political developments in the Middle East. He then spent 33 years in the U.S. foreign service at State Department posts in Washington, the Middle East, Europe, Canada, Africa and at the United Nations in New York. He served as U.S. ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe from 1987 to 1989. While in Gabon he hosted a visit by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. In 1989 to 1990, as the first deputy to the assistant secretary of state for Africa, Ambassador Clark played a key role in shaping the George H. W. Bush administration’s efforts to nudge the apartheid regime in South Africa to peacefully relinquish power. Read more
Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip held marches on May 15 to commemorate the Nakba or “catastrophe”, which marks the forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948.
On Nakba Day in 2014, in the West Bank town of Beitunia, local Palestinians decided to gather around Ofer military court and prison to protest in solidarity with over 100 prisoners on a hunger strike against their administrative detention by Israeli authorities.
Among those to join the protest were 17-year-old Nadeem Siam Nawara and 16-year-old Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh Abu Daher. Read more
In Jabalia, Gaza’s most populated refugee camp, some 110,000 refugees pack an area of only 1.4 square kilometers.
Lacking a steady supply of basic services, like water and electricity, Jabalia has been hit hard by the eight-year Israeli siege on Gaza.
On July 28, 2014, 17-year-old Alaa Balata moved with his family to his uncle’s house deep inside Jabalia refugee camp and farther from the Israeli tanks shelling everywhere along Gaza’s border.
“[My father] thought we would be safer here.” Read more
On the afternoon of February 21, 2014, 11-year-old Fadel Abu Odwan was on his way to help his brother bring their sheep in for the night. The flock was grazing on land near the Sufa crossing between the southern Gaza Strip and Israel.
Before reaching his brother, Fadel was stopped by three Palestinian officers stationed at their usual spot.
The officers took Fadel’s slingshot, which he carries for hunting birds, and began to play with it.
Suddenly, Fadel saw two Israeli military jeeps speeding toward them from the other side of the border. Read more
Shireen Awwad Hedva Haymov
The importance of women in leadership positions in the Messianic Jewish and Christian faith communities is often undervalued However, when the voices of women are uplifted and heard, incredible strides are made towards peace and reconciliation. This is the reality these two inspiring women, Hedva Haymov and Shireen Awwad have been working diligently toward. Despite come from diverse backgrounds – Hedva, an American-born Israeli Messianic Jew, and Shireen, a Palestinian Christian living in Bethlehem – they both have found shared faith and passion for advancing peace in the Holy Land. Read more
If you were aware that there was an issue in your society regarding the arrest and detention of children, how would you respond? Palestinian human rights lawyer, Farah Bayadsi, has decided that this is a critical issue she cannot walk away from. Growing up near Haifa in a town called Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Farah grew up a citizen of Israel with Arabic as her mother tongue. She studied for her Bachelor of Law degree at Shaarei Mishpat College in Hod Hasharon near Tel Aviv, where she became aware of the growing gap between the theoretical aspect of law and its application; that what is on paper is not necessarily what is practiced, especially regarding criminal law and political arrest cases. This led her to move to Jerusalem to pursue her LLM in International Law and Human Rights at Hebrew University. Read more
Sarah Linder is a collector of stories. A current resident of Israel originally from Denmark, Sarah was also raised in France, Switzerland, and Belgium. With a Danish mother and Israeli father, she brings a unique and multilingual perspective to storytelling that has helped build bridges within Israeli society. After moving to Israel in 2006, Sarah developed her interest in storytelling through her undergraduate studies in Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy, at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC). She then pursued a Master’s degree at Tel Aviv University in Middle Eastern History. Through her studies, she noticed that most dialogues concerning policy-making was male-dominated, with a distinct lack of a female perspective. Read more
In the weeks between Holy Week and Pentecost Sunday, the Christian church around the world continues to reflect upon the significance of Jerusalem. Since the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, Jerusalem – the city of peace – has been esteemed as the holiest city of the Christian faith. Despite centuries of changing political landscape and war, the Christian community in the Holy Land has remained a small, but constant presence in this historic and holy city. Smaller in numbers, but mighty in witness to God.
Yet, on Sunday, February 25, 2018, the Jerusalem Church Authorities closed the doors at what is often considered the holiest site in Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This closure was in protest to churches being caught in the middle of the latest conflict coming out of Jerusalem: a political battle between the Mayor and his opponents in the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Read more
While staying with them, Jesus ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem, for it was there they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Shortly after his ascension the day of Pentecost came, and the Holy Spirit descended, first like a violent wind, then as divided tongues of fire. As each tongue rested on them, they began to speak in other languages that were not their own. While this is miraculous in and of itself, it is also a profound statement of the power of the Holy Spirit to allow us to understand those who are other, those who are not like us. To speak another language is to catch a glimpse into another person’s mind. Read more