Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sitting in at Sabeel

I missed Thursday's Bible study and eucharist at Sabeel (see Morning with Vivien), so called first thing Friday to discover a large group was visiting later that morning (Tree of Life, led by David Good and Rebecca Fadil). I was cordially invited to sit in.

I've heard Cedar Duaybis a number of times, but never tire of her story. She's now 77, one of the founders of Sabeel, and as passionate and articulate a spokesperson as it has. The history of the people, her own personal story of being forced from her home in Haifa, Naim's development of liberation theology, their continuing struggle for justice, peace and reconciliation. Such integrity.

Sabeel served lunch (always a favorite - maqlouba) to all of us and then introduced representatives from the Parents Circle Families Forum, the amazing group of bereaved families - Palestinian and Israeli - who support peace, reconciliation and tolerance and an end to the cycle of violence which took one of their own. If you don't know of these courageous people, do look them up on the internet,, and give them your support, lots of it ($$$). It was only as the Israeli's story unfolded that I realized this was Rami Elhanan, Miko Peled's brother-in-law. In 1997, with four others, Rami's 14 year old daughter, Miko's niece, was killed by a suicide bomber. The Palestinian, George Sa'adeh, (former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, now an educator) and his family were victims of a special Israeli squad sent to ambush Hamas fighters in Bethlehem in 2003. George, his wife and one daughter were seriously injured and Christine, their other daughter, was killed. The car in which they were driving was found to have 300 bullet holes.

There is surely no grief any of us suffer greater than the death of one of our children. George and Rami's stories are painful to hear and, of course, indescribable to experience. As they said yesterday, there is nothing more powerful than the power of pain. Parents Circle Families Forum use their power to help end this tragedy. It has made more than l000 presentations to Israeli and Palestinian young people.

One more thing. Someone asked Rami how to deal with their anticipation of being labelled anti-semitic when speaking to people at home about this situation. Rami said, "Tell them there is nothing Jewish about home demolitions, walls which divide, check point closures, confiscation of another's land, uprooting olive trees, settler violence against unarmed farmers."

Cedar Duaybis
Rebeca Fadil
David Good and friend
Rami Elhanan
George Sa'adeh
Bereaved Parents
Naim Ateek

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