My husband and I moved to Jerusalem for the year to study at the Pardes Institute. While studying Jewish texts in the morning, I've also been volunteering at the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, an interreligious dialogue organization, writing fundraising reports and proposals. Now we've decided to stay in Israel, and I want to stay involved in the peace community here.
Before moving to Israel I worked as the Marketing and Communications director of Theater J, a Jewish theater in DC. (www.theaterj.org)
Why I want peace:
I believe that it is in the Israelis and Palestinians' best interest to reconcile and work towards a negotiated two-state solution. Especially since I've decided to make my home here, I see how the future prosperity of this place is dependent upon a stable and peaceful situation. I also want the Palestinians to have the ability to live in their own, independent state and enjoy their connection to this land as much as I do.
אני ערבי פלסטיני מהכפר חיזמה הנמצא בין ירושלים רמאללה
כשהייתי בגיל 15 נלחמתי נגד הכיבוש הישראלי
בשבל החופש הייתי חושיב כל אדם יהודי חייל או אזרח גבר או אישה קטן או גדול צריך לההרג
עד בא יום נסיתי לשלול לבן אדם את חיים שלו לא הייתי מכיר אתו היה בשביל יהודי וכל יהודי היא המטרה שלי להרוג
תאמינו לי הייתי רק ילד לא מבין כלום בפוליטיקה
או את הסכסוך הערבי הישראלי
בסוף נעצרתי לתקופה של 12 שנים
למדע כל זה קרה בשנת האינתיפאדה הראשונה 1987. באותו שלב. אף אחד לא מדבר על שלום
רק מדברים שני הצדדים רק על אלימות
התחלתי לגדול ואני בכלא התחלתי ללמוד לקרוא
ספרים על פוליטיקה. ספרות. שירה וסיפורים העולם.
ועידת מדריד נתן לי תקווה החיים לחיות בשלןם
ובכבוד . למדתי כי אלימות תבי רק אלימות
והשלום הא הפתרון היחיד בין שני העמים למען עתיד יפה מכובד בין שני העמים
אנחנו חיים על אותה קרקע.אנחנו שכנים שותים מאותו המים מתפללים עבור אלוהים אחד
אנו צריכים לחיות בשלום על בסיס של הדת לאלוהים והאדמה לכלאם
A True Story By Faisal Al-kateep
I am a Palestinian Arab from Hizmeh, a village between Jerusalem and Ramallah. When I was 15 years old I fought against the Israeli Occupation in search of freedom. At that time I thought every Jewish person, whether soldier or citizen, man or woman, young or old, should be killed. I rejected the right for any Jew to live and every Jew was a target. I was just a kid, believe me, and I didn’t understand anything about politics or the Arab-Israeli conflict. I was arrested and sat in jail for 12 years. This was during the first intifada from 1987. At that time nobody talked about peace but only of violence. I matured during my time in jail. I started studying and reading books on politics, literature, poetry, and about the Madrid Conference.
It gave me hope to live in peace and dignity. I learned that violence only breeds violence and that peace is the only solution for the two nations, the only way for both to have a respectful and beautiful future. We live on the same land. We are neighbors. We drink the same water and both pray to a monotheistic God. We must live in peace on the basis of religion for God and land for everyone.
The sting of all problems between Israeli and Palestinians lays in the Old City of Jerusalem. Her status has to be solved in such a way, that all parties fighting for control over her can agree upon.
On June 24, the ‘Big Hug’ will be hold in Jerusalem. Light workers from Israel, Palestine and from all over the world, ‘Lovers of Jerusalem’, will come together to bring warmth and energy to this city, embracing holding hands the Old City. If we bundle all our positive energies and bring these to Jerusalem, we can create peace to this exceptional place.
We are organizing the Big Hug to make the people aware –especially the Israeli and Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem- that there is a very shaped perspective for the city of Jerusalem as a city of peace: a new, undivided Jerusalem, as the capital of Palestine, Israel and at large.
Let go of the conflict concerning her command and dedicate the city to the Omnipresent. The Old City as a whole is His Temple. To give the walled Old City free to God, as a "Status Apart”, as an independent city, will be the most feasible way to come out the current impasse.
The Old City of Jerusalem must become an open city; a House of Prayer for all the Peoples. This perspective is written down in the Holy Books, this is the perspective we, as ‘Lovers of Jerusalem’ embrace as well as solution. But how many people does already notice this hopeful point of view?
What I saw in Jerusalem and also everywhere else where I meet Islamic and Jewish people is, that not so many persons really think about a future for Jerusalem. Most of the time, they stick with old ideas that the Old City of Jerusalem will always remain a part of Israel, or in opposite, that it will be absolutely a part of a new Palestinian state, as stolen land that has to be given back. With these visions, a future Jerusalem will be a divided city with an East Palestinian and West Israeli part, with barbed wire and checkpoints in between, like the situation of the city from 1948-1967. Or, coming closer to an agreement, people suggest -like proposed in the “Geneva Accord” in 2003- to make a complicated dividing of the Old City in a Israeli and Palestinian part. That will mean that the small alleys will be split by walls and barriers too. The idea that a future Jerusalem will become a divided city, is something that we have to prevent.
There are living about 250.000 Palestinian and 500.000 Israeli rather close together in one city. Do they want to make a separation of Jerusalem in parts or do they choose, deep in their hearts, for unity? So my best friends, it is our task to inform the whole city that there is an alternative for the Jerusalem of today.
All lovers of a united Jerusalem will come together to encircle and embrace the Old City of Jerusalem with love and devotion. We have to encourage all inhabitants of Jerusalem to join the coming Big Hug, with the idea of a New Jerusalem that might be realized with their support.
Rob Schrama Phone:0031-646608660 www.loversofjerusalem.org
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