Welcome back to our Palestine delegation!

Shehuda street Hebron

Welcome back to our delegation who returned on Saturday!  Review their travel blog on Tumblr at www.tiffinpalestine.tumblr.com

Here are links to a few highlights:

May 12th Lunch at a Bedouin Camp

May 14th  Life on Chicken Street in Hebron

May 15th post by Lindsay Kagy

May 16th Final post by Sr. Paulette  and fellow delegation members

Each member contributed his/her closing memories in their final post below:

The community and hospitality shared by the shopkeepers as they offered welcome, and an invite to come in for a cup of coffee/tea as they shared the details of their arts and crafts. Of course, “we” then contributed to the economy of the area. Many special memories that will last for a lifetime.

Despite the impressions one has of Israel coming from the States, we certainly have come away with a new understanding of the injustices perpetrated upon the Palestinian and Bedouin peoples who have had their homes destroyed and confiscated, lands and orchards destroyed or seized—all in the name of preserving the state of Israel at all costs. And who supports this situation?—the United States state department! We certainly need to do our best of spread the “other side of the story” to the American people. (David)

It’s our last day, our last bit of time in this (un)holy land. Amazing and troubling, beautiful and tragic…where do I come in? Which thread am I in the tapestry: along the fringes, in the middle, a loose thread? What about those who must stay here, our lives intertwined for a few brief stitches? What will happen to them once we are safely home? Let’s not keep making the same mistakes of the past with one another. Let’s forge a new vision of us all honoring each other’s humanity, taking care of the environment, and creating a life energy based on love…not fear. We can do it — we must do it! (Lindsay)

I’ll miss it. When I was 17 I drove into Rochester, NY and attended an anti-Apartheid demonstration in Manhattan Square Park. I was very inspired by that struggle, and after Mandela’s release I believed that era was done. It is not. The United States government, through my tax dollars, is supporting what Jimmy Carter has called the new Apartheid. People from South Africa who have come to the West Bank say it is worse here than it was for them in the 80s. We need to call for the end of this blind support. In the end I guess no one is free until we all are. Perhaps some day we all will live under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and never see another regime as this. I’m so grateful Sister Paulette encouraged me to come here. She’s strong. (Matt)

These days in Palestine and Israel are so fresh; I wonder what I will take home with me and keep. Today I think of the wonderful scents of marketplace and mosque. I remember checkpoints and the joyful shrieks of a toddler chasing chickens just outside a checkpoint. Mostly I believe I will remember the warm and welcoming hospitality of the Palestinian people despite their oppression. I have grown to love their mint tea and lemonade. Palestinian food is delcious, so fresh and lovingly prepared and served. I hope I will remember all of their stories so that I may share them in my own world. Goodbye, Palestine. All the best to you. (Mary)

I’m the last on this blog, and I’m so grateful to Phyllis, to Lindsay, to Matt, to David and to Mary for the wonderful resilience and patience with my oversights and for their willing insertion into this narrative of the Palestinians. I have enjoyed each of them and I hope their strong voices on behalf of justice and freedom in this part of the world will influence many people to similarly raise their voices.
How good it has been for me to again meet friends, especially the children who delight me with their hugs and kisses and their “Bullet” (they have no “p” in their alphabet), and they give me great hope even though they experience so much abuse of human rights in their short lives. I’m intrigued that my 5 feisty little “rascals” acted like like princes this time with my visit. It baffles me that “pesky” Islam found a wife and was married yesterday. I love it that Mohammed’s little Abed has a smile as wide as his face. And… toddler Rafad’s eyes are as large and bright as a healthy cow’s.
I’m positive that this trip’s expenses and time it took in recruiting were all worth while, that the memories of the people will continue to live on in these travelers with me. I wish with all my heart that the Palestinians would be FREE by next year, but nevertheless, I shall come back with another willing group of people who want to help the cause if possible.
We ended our visit by going to Lifta, one of the Palestinian villages destroyed in the Nakba in 1948. Mohammed, our guide wanted us to see as much of the country and of the situation as possible. The way these folks had to leave all, give up all, continue to hope fires me up to continue on—-no matter what. My love, (Paulette)

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