There is no date in any calendar year that is more important for family get together than the holidays. This year both Christmas and Id al-Fitr fell on almost identical dates.
This year is perhaps the worst facing Palestinian families in decades: The multi-layered Israeli siege on Palestinian territories has forced various members of the same family to celebrate alone.
Palestinians like to spend the holidays visiting the grave sites of deceased family members, visiting prisoners, and of course large families like getting together, often at the home of their parents. Let me detail some of the obstacles facing Palestinians this particular holiday season. Continue Reading »
I met Robin and Nancy Wainwright in Jerusalem in 1993. They were newly married and full of excitement about a project they thought would bring attention to the Arab peoples of the Middle East. Long before anyone had thought of millennium celebrations, the Wainwrights were looking ahead and thinking of ways to use the end of the second millennium in a positive way.
They had many ideas, but the one that seemed to capture everyone’s imagination was a pilgrimage for peace, following in the journey of the wise men, or Magi. The biblical story of the Magi, coming from the East, to visit the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, is taught in every Christian Sunday school in the West. Continue Reading »
Every year during the month of fasting our office tries hard to get together for an iftar dinner. The entire staff – both Moslems and Christians – enjoy a hefty meal as the sun sets. Many who don’t normally fast try and abstain from eating or drinking this day in solidarity with the devout Moslems who are fasting.
This year our accountant, Byan, suggested that we go to the Philadelphia restaurant in Jerusalem. She thought that our staff had worked hard all year (especially the last three months), and they deserved a break in a nice restaurant. Initially everyone welcomed the idea but as the day went on, Jumana, who was organizing the event, started getting defections. Continue Reading »
One of the recent disputes between Israel and the Palestinians sounds like the discussion about what came first – the chicken or the egg. The Israelis insist that before negotiations can commence and before the international fact finding commission can begin its work, Palestinians must cease their resistance. The Palestinians insist that the resistance is a natural byproduct of occupation and that it can’t stop unless the occupation ends. Continue Reading »