I spent two weeks in Palestine during March. The first half at a peace conference sponsored by Bethlehem Bible College that had over 600 particpants from various realms of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths, as well as representatives of Palestinian and Israeli governments. In all, there were people from 21 countries exchanging ideas, discussing, debating, and working on plans for the grwoing peace efforts that are so crucial if this conflict is ever to be resolved.
The second week of my stay was with a lovely Palestinian Christian family in their home with many daily trips around the occupied territories as well as into Israel. It was enlightening to see what pressures this family and their neighbors are under from the apatheid state that the Israeli government has put them under. Over 250,000 brothers and sisters in Christ live in Palestine, alongside close to 3 million Muslims, and their rights have been curtailed, land taken from them, and freedom of movement strongly discouraged. The prime example of the latter is the ever-growing "security wall" that is three stories tall and stretches hundreds of miles to seprarate the territories. In many cases, homes and businesses have been destroyed to make way for the barrier, and excesses have been demonstrated by the Israeli government taking over thousands of additonal square miles beyond aggeed-to borders for thier own gain. Additonally, the checkpoints allowing Palestinians to enter Israel, or to re-enter their own occupied state are often overcrowded, and there can be delays of 5 hours just trying to get to their jobs or hospitals, etc.
Now don't get me wrong, I believe Israel deserves to live in peaceful security. I love the Jewish people and want them to have a homeland. There just needs to be a better system in place than this. I hope, pray, and believe there will be a day when this wall will come down and there will be peaceful co-existence. That's one of the reasons I follow "The Prince of Peace."
By the way, there is no freedom of expression via painting allowed on the Israeli side of the wall, but I met many Israeli citizens who are disgusted with this severe partition and feel it is has gotten out of control. I was able to walk along the wall on thePalestinian side for just a few miles, and here are some of the messages I saw expressing views on what has happened, and hopes for a better tomorrow through peaceful reconciliation. Let me know which ones resonate with you: