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Israel, Don’t Level My Village

By Nasser Nawaja SUSIYA, West Bank — IN 1948, as Israeli forces closed in on his village of Qaryatayn, my grandfather carried my father in his arms to Susiya, about five miles north, in the South Hebron Hills area. “We will go back home soon,” my grandfather told my father. They did not. Qaryatayn was destroyed, along with about 400 other Palestinian villages that were razed between 1948 and the mid-1950s. My family rebuilt their lives in Susiya, across the 1949 armistice line in the West Bank. In 1986, my family was expelled from our home once again — not because of war, but because the occupying Israeli authorities decided to create an archaeological and tourist site around the remains of an ancient synagogue in Susiya. (A structure next to the abandoned temple was used as a mosque from ...

God honoured this olive tree

In Palestine, “God honored this olive tree” “Just as you cannot live without water, olive oil is the same for us—and the olive tree is our life,” explains a smiling Abu-Issa under an awe-inspiring 13-meter olive tree. Its umbrella of branches extends over the al-Walaja hills, just north of Bethlehem. This massive olive tree outside Bethlehem is said to be one of the oldest in the world, dating back several thousand years. Abu-Issa stands in front. Photos: Annelies Wiebenga/WCC 12 November 2020 The tree, said to be one of the oldest in the world, dates back several thousand years. While its exact age may be unknown, there is no doubt about the tree’s deep spiritual significance for the surrounding communities: “This tree is the most important in Palestine and it is sacred. God...

Eid Hathaleen

Eid Hathaleen, as one of the elders of the community of Um al-Khair, is one of the founders of the Good Shepherd Collective, bringing with him a wealth of international experience. Eid has traveled extensively across Europe and the United States promoting the movement for human rights and the Palestinian nonviolent struggle to challenge the mechanisms of oppression. He has presented in Washington DC, at the Hague and other places that oftentimes are cut off from Palestinian voices. He was one of the leaders that literally put Um al-Khair on the Google Maps system - a raggedy app that seldom shows Palestinian communities or roads and doesn’t offer navigation between them. While Eid is known regionally as one of the volunteers on the frontlines documenting home demolitions, land confisc...

Mahmoud Nawajaa

It was 3:30 am, just before Eid al-Adha. We had prepared ourselves to celebrate the holiday in our new dream home, which took us years to finish. Tens of Israeli soldiers, with dogs, stormed our home, terrifying our three children. They took me blindfolded and handcuffed to a military interrogation center near Haifa. I wish I could visit beautiful Palestinian Haifa under different circumstances! Upon arrival my right hand was swollen, blue, and numb after hours of being tightly chained. They ignored my complaint and did not treat it. Even now, weeks after my arrest, part of my hand is still numb. They put me in a tiny underground cell with no windows, with rough concrete walls, and a large metal door. A bright light that was always on. I couldn’t tell day from night, so time wa...

Freedom of Movement?

Rawna and Issa Khouriya live in Jifna where they have a guesthouse. I stayed there on Sunday evening. The town is about half Christian. Rawna and Issa have 2 children and the oldest is now studying in Germany. Life under Jordanian rule was much easier and they both had good jobs. Issa was a contracter and Rawna worked in setting up learning centres for disabled children. As the Israeli occupation progessed, so did the difficulties facing the family. The most notable is freedom of movement. One year, the family wanted to go to Jerusalem for the holy days of Easter. They got permits and were excited too be in Jerusalem for the first time. They got to the checkpoint and they let Issa through, then their daughter, then Rawna and now for their son. The young soldier did not permit the ...


This is one of the injustices we witnessed on a daily basis as Ecumenical Accompaniers. It is truly Unbelievable! Click to read this post.