As part of the British contingent of St Mark’s Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Fiona and Ian W. and Hazel and Dave W. are blessed to have encountered so many new friends from the US and also South Africa.
What we are seeing is troubling – often disturbing and we feel the weight of history on our shoulders, decisions made by US and UK governments over the past 100 years have left a tinderbox legacy. In Yad Vashem, the museum to the Holocaust, one is greeted with a plaque which states ‘A country is not just what it does – it is also what it tolerates’.
What we see as being ‘tolerated’ is beyond belief. The scene that greeted us as we entered Bethlehem of an 8 metre high security wall with watchtowers at regular intervals means that never again can we sing ‘Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie’ without thinking of the concrete barrier that divides communities and minds.
Our spirits are upheld by the daily Compline Service we hold, where we pray for the compassion of Jesus to enter into this situation.
There are heartbreaking beautiful images – this little boy behind a window in Hebron. His smile is captivating – sad to think that every morning when he goes to school he has to walk through a checkpoint and bag search. Please pray for him and all the people in this land who suffer on a daily basis. This is just one way the people normalise the situation they find themselves in and are dehumanised by their oppressors from a very young age.
Trophies from the Walled Off Hotel, Bethlehem
I think the ability to be irreverent and poke fun is a sign of resilience and hope. The Walled Off Hotel served us excellent coffee and also houses the important new Museum about the Occupation. Well worth a visit!