I leave for Israel/Palestine April 15 aboard Turkish Airlines. It’s been two years since I’ve been there, and in spite of the hassle by the IDF at multiple checkpoints, I’ve missed many friends, the warmth and hospitality of Palestinians, the courage and faithfulness of all who resist this oppressive occupation.
As usual I have an ambitious agenda, but mainly I want to listen … to both Israeli Jews and Palestinians, to West Bank Palestinians. Where do they find hope in ending this Occupation so destructive to both people, what is the fallout from this recent election, what about this potential deal with Iran? Then there are Seraj libraries to visit – a special visit to the seventh, opened just this month, serving Burham and Jibya, two small villages near Birzeit – a potential new site to consider near Hebron, a visit accompanying Gerard Horton and Salwa Duaibis to an Israeli military court trying Palestinian children. At one of our libraries Estephan and Laurie (Salameh) and I are hoping to arrange a mini art therapy and theatre exercise workshop courtesy of our friends Al Miller and Khitam Edelbi.
I hope to meet up with an Episcopal delegation traveling at about the same time who will be taking a gift of financial support to the courageous staff at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. Toward the end of my visit I’ll connect with a long time friend and attorney, Steve Fatum, and his adult son John who are sufficiently crazy to let me introduce them to all the paradoxes of this Holy Land.