Friday, 3 April 2009

Siamese Twins - Paul

Those of entrenched opinions will not have changed their 'sides' after reading the blogs.Many Israelis & Palestinians have the blame 100% on the 'other' side.There is a lot of opinion from local & 'internationals'(who back one side or the other)that is unwilling to give an inch because their side is 'Right'.
My first hand experience of Palestinians & Israelis over 3 decades is one of genuine warmth.Most do not see a way forward any time soon.
I hope I am proved wrong on the above.

What is absolutely clear to me, Peace for Israel and Justice for Palestinans are Siamese Twins.Both will 'exist' rather than 'live' unless they give up some of their 'Rightness'.

The Holy Land is beautiful & fascinating.I find it endlessly compelling.To walk through a large part of it is a privilege.I cannot wait to get back.
Easter Holidays 2010?
Karen,Fiona,Matthew,Sophia,Myron,Maureen,Gaye & Red Dave,thanks for the texts etc.


At the Shroud of Turin Exhibition we met an overseas family staying at Ashdod about 20 miles from Gaza.Jim is working their for 2 years.He told us in detail of living under the Rockets from Gaza.Air Raid warnings.Bomb shelters.Stepping out of the Shelter too soon & seeing/hearing a Rocket land frighteningly close.He was seriously considering cancelling his contarct when Hamas declared a 'cease fire'.He has since found out that this does not involve ceasing to fire rockets!
We have heard much about the 'Apartheid' Wall,land grab & harrassment of Palestinians.We were told the Wall has nothing to do with a (Israeli claimed) 90% drop in suicide bombings.Jim brought a whole new dimension to our information.Namely,a 'Security Wall'.

Shroud - the Wow Factor

We got to Jerusalem early afternoon Wednesday so had about 24 hours in the Holy City.
Paul,Thomas & James tried to visit the Temple Mount and Dopme of the Rock.The route for tourists was closed.Only the muslim gate was available - but not to us....
Paul researched accommodation for future visits.James & Thomas wandered.
On our last evening we visited Notre Dame where there is a permanent Shroud of Turin exhibition.The Shroud is the most scientifically examined object in history.The avalanche of evidence must make agnostics,atheists etc want to weep.
James & Thomas would never have visited the exhibition on their own.They were both 'wowed'.
Fr Eamon Kelly who hosted the exhibition for us gave a humorous,entertaining & information packed evening.

West Yorkshire Olive Tree-the Patsy Tree of Love

Rony took us to meet Daoud who is a green fingered Palestinian who has created a beautiful garden over 30 years.Patsy,Paul & Daoud planted a Olive Tree as a symbol of peace & friendship between the people of West Yorkshire and the Holy Land.Daoud told us our tree will give a good crop of Olives in 3 years.
We concluded our visit to Bethlehem by taking a look at and passing through the Wall.
Not a happy sight!

Tabash Family - Bethlehem

On Tuesday we visited Bethlehem and met the Tabash Family - a contact from Aid to the Church in Need.
Victor,Epiphanius,Rony & Carol (apologies for any mis-spellings)were gracious hosts.
We expected to visit a few of the Olive wood workers who benefit from their link with ACN.However,we had so much more.We were given an insight into the way ACN & the Tabash family really help 48 local families in extreme financial difficulties.
Although,Christians they make sure Muslim families benefit from the the ACN link - providing them with work.It would be financially more viable for the Tabash family to set up their own woodwork factory,drive costs down & output up but this would be catastrophic for the 48 families.
It was good to see that business & social responsibility towards all the community is at the heart of what ACN & the Tabash family do in Bethlehem.
Rony spent most time with us taking us to many places we would never have seen.He spoke of the general good relations between the large muslim community & the Christians.
We also visited an orphanage for handicapped children where Rony volunteers.Our impromptu visit revealed a place of love for happy children cared for by Christian Sisters.
On Wednesday Carol re-arranged her working day (two jobs on the Jerusalem side of the Wall) just to meet us.