It’s midnight. There’s a knock on the door. You yell that you are coming to open it in hopes that the soldiers don’t blow it open. Moments later, dozens of soldiers invade your house. Your children wake to masked soldiers with guns pointed directly at them, yelling in a language your children don’t understand. They force your family into one room and tear your house apart without explanation. This is the reality that many families have faced across the West Bank.
Night raids are one of the most devastating acts of the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank. The violent raids occur between midnight and 5 AM, often without the families getting an explanation. According to the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, 1,360 night raids are executed every year, the majority within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of a settlement or near roads that settlers frequent.
by Elli Atchison, World Vision
Two weeks ago I was privileged to be part of a World Vision delegation in the Holy Land. Twenty women gathered from all corners of the United States to visit people living and working in Israel and the West Bank. Most of the ladies had never been to the region before. Those of us who were returning yearned to understand the issues better.
Together we journeyed throughout the land, seeking perspectives from Israelis and Palestinians. We were also seeking spiritual insights and the wisdom of Jesus that could help us make sense of this tragic conflict.
We met so many amazing people who told the stories of their very different lives. Our days were full of listening, learning, and asking questions. And continually I challenged my companions and myself: ”You hear stories of pain on both sides of this conflict. You see the hardships of life under occupation. But, where do you see Jesus?” Read more
by Natalie Wisely, World Vision
After more than seven weeks of fighting, an open-ended ceasefire agreement was reached between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and armed groups in Gaza on Tuesday, August 26.
We are thankful for the ceasefire and that children and families can rebuild their lives without the fear of violence. We know that many difficult issues are still being discussed, and hope both sides will come to an agreement that allows for humanitarian access for those affected.
Our prayer is that the current agreement will be a stepping stone toward a lasting peace. We know that coming to peaceful terms can be a long and arduous process, so we go before the Lord asking for his wisdom and guidance for the leaders of the region. We also pray for families and communities that have been affected by the conflict and are now rebuilding their lives. Read more
by Craig Swandby, World Vision
The Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF) is a joint Palestinian Israeli organization of over 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the prolonged conflict. Through face-to-face reconciliation programs, the Parent’s circle has shown that the reconciliation between individuals and nations is possible, and it is this insight that they are trying to pass on to both sides of the conflict.
The PCFF was established in 1995 by Mr. Yitzhak Frankental and several bereaved Israeli families. In 1998 the first meetings were held with a group of Palestinians families from Gaza who identified with the call to prevent further bereavement through dialogue, tolerance, peace, and reconciliation. The connection with the group in Gaza was cut off as a result of the second Intifada. Read more
by Sarah Withrow King, ESA
We are mothers and fathers;
we are sisters and brothers;
we are a family connected by your love.
God, we acknowledge that we are all your children. Each of us created in your holy image. Each of us created to love you and to love one another.
God, we praise you as the creator and caretaker of all children. You see all of your children. You love all of your children. You want every child to flourish in communities of care and concern. We praise you, Holy One. Read more