Advertiser Tribune prints sr. Paulette’s article “Israel’s Response Has Been Unjust and Disproportionate”–disproportionate.html?nav=5004

I write often of Palestine and Israel and the injustices perpetrated through the Israeli Occupation.  At times I know the reader may wonder whether there is anything else on my mind.  The truth is that when a grave injustice happens in Palestine, I feel compelled—seeing before me the faces of so many children and people whom I love there—to share the information I’ve received, differing from the popular media explanation given to the crisis.

Such is the case with the three Israeli teenage boys who were allegedly kidnapped two weeks ago.  Now two days after finding the dead bodies of the three youth, and with no evidence for the claim, the Israeli Government and the Military have raided and demolished hundreds of Palestinian homes, and have arrested over 500 Palestinians, including  24 members of Parliament, with no due process.  The military has invaded hundreds of schools and universities and have killed ten Palestinian children.  (I wait impatiently for the day when each Palestinian child’s life has the same value in the mind of the media as do the Israeli children.)

The United Nations Security Council called a special meeting in response to the horrific punishments Israel has been foisting upon Palestinians in response to the kidnappings—it seems to matter not a bit whether the Palestinian is guilty or not.  The Under Secretary General to the United Nations called (before the boys’ bodies were found) the situation “alarming.”  The Permanent Palestinian Observer to the U.N. called for the United Nations to act on behalf of the Palestinians.  No statements could be made to the world community from the U.N. because the criticism toward Israeli actions was blocked “by a certain few.” 

In the words of Juan Cole, a highly respected Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and an expert on Middle East history:

In the way of politics, the killing will be used by the Israeli Right wing to demonize all Palestinians and to justify collective punishment of innocents among them, and as a pretext to take further property and rights away from them. Mr. Netanyahu seems to think he can use the murders as a basis for a campaign to destroy the Hamas Party-Militia in Gaza altogether. But Hamas is a side effect of Israeli brutalization of Palestinians in Gaza, who live under an economic siege, and if it were destroyed, something worse would take its place. Intolerable situations produce resistance, and resistance movements are often fanatical. Of course, the Israeli crackdown actions will produce a backlash from Palestinians in turn.

For more information from Juan Cole go to:

              Sr. Paulette Schroeder

              419.447.0435 ext. 136







wise words from a man on the ground in Palestine these tragic days


World leaders and diplomats, who don’t know the names of any of the Palestinian kids killed on an almost daily basis, deplored in the strongest terms the killing of the three settlers, mentioning them by name. But what about Youssef Shawamra, 15, who was killed in March while harvesting the wild thorny vegetable gundelia (Akkoub) in Deir Al Asal, south of Hebron; or Ahmad Sabarin, 20, who was watching a World Cup match when the Israelis came to arrest people at Al Jalazoun refugee camp and shot and killed Ahmad as he went out to see what was going on? Saker Daraghmeh, 16, was killed in Tayaseer village near the Jordan Valley while shepherding his cattle. Mahmoud Odeh and Nadeem Nawara, the two teenagers k while commemorating the Nakba, did not receive anywhere near the international attention bestowed on the three young Jewish settlers! The killing of a Palestinian is not seen as horrific as that of an Israeli; our pain is not sensed as acutely as is theirs. The unfair equating of Palestinian responsibility for the alleged acts of a few individuals with the formal responsibility of a democratically elected Israeli government for the actions of its army is yet another insult to logic and reason often committed by the friends of Israel.

In fact, no Israeli has ever received a serious sentence for killing a Palestinian. Today, following the killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, Israeli troops are invading Shuafat—not his killers’ neighborhood! They likely will remain anonymous, their homes will not be demolished, there will be no closure imposed on Israeli neighborhoods, nor will Israeli settlers be prevented from going to work or traveling abroad. The rabbis and settler leaders who incite their followers will continue to do so with impunity.

Since it first occupied our land, Israel has kidnapped our freedom, our lives, and our opportunities. As long as the killing of a gentile is taken more lightly than the killing of a Jew, as long as there is this huge discrepancy in human worth and lack of validation of the Palestinian experience, as long as Israel remains the only author of this land’s narrative and the only political player who counts, death and nihilism will continue to kidnap our life opportunities—Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Washington Report contributor Samah Jabr



Three Israeli teens’ killing–such repercussions on the Palestinians—by Mazin Qumsiyeh

A sadly familiar scene over the past two weeks here in occupied Palestine: 10 Palestinians (including a 7 and 15 year old) and three Israeli settlers (16 – 19 year old) were killed. Dozens of Palestinian homes were demolished in the past two weeks. Over 570 more Palestinians were kidnapped in these two weeks making more than 6000 abductees languishing in Israeli gulags/prisons. 1500 Palestinian homes invaded without due process. 12 million native Palestinians still await their freedom from colonial occupation and displacement. And Israeli leaders are promising to “do more” (genocidal mayhem?).

But the question remains when will this insanity end? Can it end by negotiations between occupied and occupier; negotiations that have been going on for 22 years while Israel gets $12 billion profit every year from its occupation? (that is not counting the billions from US taxpayers). When will Israel be led by people like the previous speaker of the Israeli Knesset Avraham Berg instead of  racists like Netanyahu. Listen to the wise words of Berg: “Here are Israel’s shallow prime minister and the bumbling police, the masses who cling to futile prayers and not to a moment of human peace. Here are the country’s hypocritical chief rabbis, who just a month ago demanded promises from the pope regarding the future of the Jewish people, but in their daily lives remain silent about the fate of the people who are our neighbors, trampled beneath the pressure of occupation and racism under the leadership of rabbis who receive exorbitant salaries and benefits….Despite the enormous and inspiring success of Breaking the Silence (an NGO that collects testimony from soldiers who’ve served in the West Bank), our own total silence is still the loudest thing around us. We are willing to go out of our minds over one odd and troublesome Pollard, a lone kidnap victim or three kidnap victims, but we are incapable of understanding the suffering of a whole society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us. This, too, needs to be said and heard during this moment of clarity — and as loudly as possible.” “The Palestinians: A kidnapped society: We are incapable of understanding the suffering of a society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us” By Avraham Berg

And how about the inspiring and wise words of Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah writing from Jerusalem congratulating Muslims on the start of Ramadan: “We all are sectarian, Christians or Muslims. We all need to continuously purify the faith in us to overcome the sectarian. The believer is one who remembers God and sees all as his creation, So he worships God and respects all his creation no matter any religion they are. ..He sees any other as a brother or sister. The sectarian has strife in him and is distant from God. He sees only himself or his family or his clan. … I hope that we all become believers, and our faith overcomes all sectarian tendency.” I am reminded of the good spirited picture someone shared on Facebook, a family where the father carries a sign that said “I am Sunni”, the mother a sign that said “I am Shia”, and the little girl carries a sign “I am Sushi”. In another video I noted fraternizing between members of the Syrian army and the opposing “Free Syrian army” that reminded me of 1914 when opposing German and British soldiers disobeyed orders of their commanders in WWI and decided to get together in Christmas and become friends. (see

The war mongers do not stop unless the people stop them. But at this moment is when we see candles of light in this darkness being lit everywhere. Palestinians and Israelis working together to achieve peace (e.g. Israeli and Palestinian association of bereaved families).  A small group of activists including Jewish Voice for Peace and Palestinian Americans recently managed to outmaneuver the well-funded movement that hijacked US policy. These good people managed to get the Presbyterians to divest holding in three companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. The whole world is getting tired of this apartheid  and is starting to shake-off the intimidation

. Netanyahu can only kill more people, can only create more false flag operations. He has decided to speed-up the Judaizing of Jerusalem and removal of its native people. He can work for what he calls “Kurdish independence”. The US and Israeli governments can continue to try and fund sectarianism and create divisions. They pursue the silly and dangerous notion that creating other sectarian states will finally give legitimacy to the “Jewish state” and its systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine. They produce few “successes” like strengthening the Mujahideen to remove the soviets from Afghanistan or strengthening the “Sunni” Mujahideen to fight the Iran/Shia Boogie man. But beware of the monsters you create and instead try to create the peace that will be only based on justice. And beware of the sophistication and power of people who are increasingly not buying all your propaganda. Peace in Jerusalem = peace on earth. Ramadan Kareem to our Muslim Brothers and Sisters And to all: Stay human! Mazin Qumsiyeh Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

More on the story of the 1500 trees uprooted by the Israeli Military on Tent of Nations Farm

The tree uprooting heard around the world 

The Nassar family had its fruit trees in the West Bank uprooted by the army last month despite a pending legal appeal, which the army now says wasn’t done properly.

By Ilene Prusher | Jun. 12, 2014 | 4:55 AM | Haaretz

Daher Nassar points to the place where his fruit trees were uprooted by the IDF, near the village of

A mural mosaic at the Tent of Nations. Photo by Ilene Prusher

Ilene Prusher

Daher Nassar points to the place where his fruit trees were uprooted by the IDF, near the village of Nahalin. Photo by Ilene Prusher

Daher Nassar keeps farmer’s hours, rising early to tend his fruit trees. But on one recent morning, one of the villagers overlooking his orchard called him extra early and woke him. His trees, which he says numbered about 1,500, had been bulldozed and removed by the Israel Defense Forces before the sun rose over the West Bank hilltops.

Now, he looks out wistfully at the hard earth of the valley known as Wadi Salem, a few leftover branches jutting out here or there. “I raised those trees like I raised my own children,” he says, standing in the valley just below the Palestinian villages of Nahalin and lying low beneath the high-ground settlement of Neve Daniel. “I had figs, apples, apricots, olives, grape vines. Why would they destroy them?”

The uprooting happened on May 19. A few weeks prior, the IDF’s Civil Administration left a notice under a large rock near the trees, saying that it was state land that must be evacuated. In response, on May 12, the Nassar family filed an appeal through their lawyer, stating that they could prove that the trees were planted on family land. Although no verdict was given and only a week had passed, the trees were uprooted and removed anyway, the land bulldozed.

What has followed since then has been nothing less than an international maelstrom. Various human rights groups — including Jewish American groups who since 2000 have been coming to visit the Nassar family’s “Tent of Nations” up the hill — have expressed outrage at what seems like an inexplicable act, one that violates Israel’s own legal procedures. And as the Nassars are Christians involved in peace activism, running summer camps for Palestinian youth and seminars for local and international adults focused on nonviolence, many American Christian groups and have also taken up the family’s cause, particularly the Presbyterian Church. An article last week in Commentary, a conservative American Jewish magazine, seized on the issue under the headline: “Presbyterians’ Tent of Nations Propaganda,” suggesting that “traditional anti-Semitism” was behind the American church’s interest in the matter. CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, has also jumped on the issue, accusing Christian activists of “passing on anti-Israel propaganda offered to them by Palestinian Christians in the West Bank as the gospel fact.”

CAMERA, which focuses on criticizing the media’s coverage of Israel, quoted Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in defense of the May 19 uprooting of the trees, saying that no appeal on behalf of the Nassar family had ever been filed. This week, however, ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Haaretz that that information was incorrect, following evidence that such an appeal had in fact been made.

“It now seems that the information was partly erroneous, and that an appeal was actually filed by Nassar on May 2014, as he claims. We’re waiting for clarifications from COGAT,” Palmor said in an e-mail response, referring to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, a branch of the IDF.

In the latest development, however, the IDF says that the appeal was not done in the proper way, and therefore, it was never discussed in court. The Civil Administration, the branch of part of the IDF that carries out demolitions in the West Bank, thus was not told there was any reason to halt their order to uproot the trees, says Maj. Guy Inbar, the COGAT spokesman.

“We just yesterday talked with the [Ofer Military] court, and the court told me that Mr. Nassar’s appeal was not discussed because it was not made as it should be,” Inbar told Haaretz Tuesday. “First, there’s a tax that you need to pay to make an appeal, and they did not pay that tax. Second, Mr. Nassar’s lawyer gave this appeal without showing that he has power of attorney, and that is necessary to start the appeals process,” said Inbar, referring to Daher Nassar’s younger brother, Daoud, who is the family’s main spokesman but was away in the United States when the trees were uprooted.

“After a court decision that Mr. Nassar has not shown any ownership of the land, on land that the state says is state land, and after Mr. Nassar was given the opportunity to remove those trees himself, after all of that, we enforced the law and removed those trees,” Inbar said.

Reporters in the Middle East are accustomed to the extreme sport of trying to figure out whose version of the story is closer to the truth, and this one is no exception. While the Nassar family says they had 1,500 trees planted in the valley, Inbar says there were only 300 and that there are aerial photographs to prove it. The Nassars say the trees were there for 10 or more years; Inbar says there was nothing there until 2007.

Moreover, Inbar says that the trees seem to be an attempt to blur the issues. The Tent of Nations, which is located up the hill about a kilometer away, is also a subject of ongoing dispute with the state. Inbar said it is considered an “illegal post,” with some of it on private Palestinian land and some of it on state land. The dispute is awaiting a decision by the High Court of Justice, he said.

“Until we will have a court decision, we won’t take steps to demolish this illegal post,” Inbar said. Even if you’re living on private land, you have to get permits in order to start building.”

The Nassar siblings say they clearly hold the deeds to the land that their grandfather bought in 1916. They’ve been in the area for generations; their families once dwelled primarily in caves. Their father, Bishara Daher Nassar, had a dream of turning the hilltop into a place for peacemaking, and even had a motto: “We refuse to be enemies.” In 2000, several of his nine children established the Tent of Nations, an educational and environmental farm. It’s become a place to welcome peace-oriented groups — including Jewish groups — and host summer camps for Palestinian kids.

One of those groups is Encounter, which brings Jews — mostly Americans but also Israelis — to the West Bank to meet Palestinians, particularly those dedicated to nonviolence. In their trips to meet Palestinians with an eye toward better understanding the conflict, Encounter often stops at the Tent of Nations on their way to or from Bethlehem.

“I met the Nassar family in 2008. They were immediately warm and welcoming of us bringing groups, including Jewish Americans and Jewish Israelis. Their whole mission is to bring groups of people together to increase understanding of what’s happening to Palestinians,” explains Ilana Sumka, the former Jerusalem director of Encounter and now a volunteer consultant to the group living in Belgium.

“It’s in Area C, and that means that it’s a rare place that’s accessible for people with Israeli citizenship to meet Palestinians,” added Sumka, who recently organized a conference call with the Nassar family and 30 Encounter alumni — many of them rabbis and lay leaders in the American Jewish community.

Independent of Encounter, Sumka is organizing a delegation of Jews to come to the site to do a tree-replanting mission. It is planned for next February, the planting season. “I want to let the Nassar family know that the Israeli government’s bulldozers don’t represent my Jewish values,” she explained.

Daoud Nassar said in a phone interview yesterday that he was surprised to hear that the IDF now argues that the appeal against the tree uprooting was somehow not legitimate.

“We appealed on May 12, and that appeal was stamped by the authorities. The lawyer has the documents to prove that. The question is why this happened, after we appealed, which according to the law is not right,” Nasser told Haaretz. “For us, this is about justice. We’re trying to do everything legally. The Supreme Court decided in 2006 that we are able to re-register our land here according to Israeli law, but the authorities are always postponing this process, until today. We keep investing our frustrations in a positive way, and are trying to do something hopeful.”

Skip Schiel to bring his Palestine-Israel photo shows to NW Ohio March 22-25

Skip Schiel FB photoProject Peace is pleased to host Boston-area photographer Skip Schiel as he visits Northwest Ohio March 22-25.  As a photographer, writer, and political activist, Skip’s main emphasis since 2003 has been on the troubles in Palestine and Israel.

Skip Schiel’s Northwest Ohio appearances

Bethlehem the Holy, the Struggle for an Ancient City
Fostoria: Sat., March 22, 7:00 pm,
Hope Lutheran Church, 151 W. Center St., Fostoria

Eyewitness Gaza
Toledo: Sun. March 23, 1:00 pm
University of Toledo Student Union, Rm. 2591
Sponsored by UT’s Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Education, Judith Herb College of Education, and Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition

Eyewitness Gaza
Fremont: Mon., March 24, 6:30 pm
Birchard Public Library, 423 Croghan St., Fremont
Sponsored by People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County

Eyewitness Gaza
Tiffin: Tues., March 25, 11:00 am
Heidelberg University, Gundlach Theater

Skip will also be presenting for two classes at Tiffin University on March 24.

For further information, contact josiesetzler at


Photo caption: The wall around Bethlehem

Visit Israel/Palestine with Project Peace

Project Peace will be leading a delegation to the West Bank from May 5-15, staying first in Jerusalem to explore and interview Peace Activists: both Jewish and Palestinian. From there we’ll travel to Bethlehem, stay with Palestinian families, explore the area, study the WALL, interview organizations trying to deal with the Occupation, and then travel to Hebron where we’ll stay with the Christian Peacemakers while interviewing, visiting with Palestinians, hopefully meeting the settlers and the soldiers. I’m hoping to be able to travel right up to the border of Gaza also and visit the Jewish city affected by the quassam rockets. From there it’s back to Jerusalem or Bil’in, the little town resisting the Occupation and the Wall being built on their land. From there it’s HOME. I hope you’ll each consider the possibility of making this journey. The price will be between 2500-2800 dollars including air fare, and all accommodations, tips, etc. Much peace to each of you. Paulette

ImageLast year’s delegation