Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christ Be our Light

In the last couple of weeks I retrieved boxes of ornaments from the cellar and began to adorn the house.  I cannot open these boxes,  many given to me by my mother, without dwelling in sadness as well as joy.  A marriage of households last year spurred on sorting things, and building piles for the yard sale.  But there are still so many things I will never use again, things that came from her hand, that I cannot surrender.  Yet.

I cannot surrender the tenderness by which she found just the right do it yourself ornament kits at Two Guys – the Big Store in New London Connecticut before K Mart was invented.  I cannot surrender the long unused Christmas Tree stand, its box ripped, held together by twine.  She bought it the first year my Dad was under the ocean in a submarine on patrol during the Christmas season. 

And there are gifts from my first marriage.  And there are gifts from dear ones who are no longer dear.  This time of painful and joyful remembrance opens my heart to the reality of loss, the difficulty of change.  And one of the gifts of our pain is that through it we can see the pain of others near and far.  As we prepare to sing Peace on Earth Good Will to Men … that shalom, that deep contentment and joy we long for, is not present in all of our households or in our global neighborhood.  And yet through the darkness we can see a bit of light. 

Blessed are those who remember the grieving parents of Newtown and Chicago, and the grieving children whose mothers have died.  Blessed are those who have not forgotten that thousands huddle in snow covered tents in refugee camps in Jordan, and thousands more are sifting rubble and waiting for water in cities Typhoon Haiyan destroyed.  Blessed are you whose voices tonight remember Matthew Harriman and all others who are dying alone for no good reason.  Blessed are you who are moved to break apart failed systems and rebuild caring community.   

We remember joy, and we hold close the little fire that still burns, steadfastly waiting for it to grow.  We remember peace, and hold our hands out to each other without fear working together to build the peaceable kingdom that is promised to us by the One who came into the human family as a vulnerable child. 

Let us pray:  God who creeps into the corners of our lives where anxiety and sorrow abide, be with us in our lamentation for our own brokenness, and for the brokenness around us.  Be with us in our longing for light.  Bless us with courage to hold onto the pieces of the life you give us that hold the light and reflect it.  Bless us with your ongoing work of resurrection.  Make us instruments of your peace, and bearers of your light.  In the name of Jesus, the One who is to come.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Women's Witness Trip May - June 2014

Want to see beyond the wall?  Is your heart burning to visit with women who struggle to save enough water to wash their dishes, and their children?   Do you desire to touch the olives, wade in the Sea of Galilee, walk in the dust with the One who lived in a tension filled occupied land, amid people of deep faith and radical hospitality?

Join us for a Women's Witness Trip to Israel-Palestine, for 10 days of conversation with Christian, Jewish and Muslim women.  We will make thoughtful inquiry into realities 'on the ground' to deepen our understanding of the impact of current conditions on the spiritual, physical, emotional and economic lives of women and their families.  Our discussions will complement daily worship, visits to holy sites and free time to take in all there is to see and hear and taste.

Reflections on last year's Witness Trip can be found below. 

For More information contact the Leaders:

Ann Franklin  ann.h.franklin@gmail.com
Ann Coburn  revanncoburn@yahoo.com
Anne Minton amminton@comcast.net
Maurine Tobin mmtobin38@gmail.com
Susan Langle   skldogwood@gmail.com

Shalom. Salaam, Peace

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


A Homily offered at the Memorial Service for
 Linda Beaulieu - Teacher Friend and Mentor

We gather today with heavy hearts in the face of an inexplicable tragedy.  We are shocked by the reminder of how fragile human life is, and how necessary it is to live well all the days we are given.  We gather because we need to be together, to hold each other up, to offer words of remembrance and wordless comfort.  We gather together to honor a woman who has touched many lives with grace, and encouragement, and with vision.  It was her vocation to be an instrument of hope.

Vocation is a word, an idea, that our culture has tried to squash into a tiny box.  We often think that vocation has something to do with the religious life, with those who go off and put on funny clothes and dedicate themselves to their God.  But Vocation will not be contained in a little box. 

Each of us has a vocation, a calling.  Frederick Buechner defines vocation as 'the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need.’   Gladness, joy in our work is required.  A musician who devotes his life to accounting has missed his calling.  A mechanic who rejoices in repairing the machines on which our lives depend has found her calling.  Joy in doing well the work we are given to do is what turns a job into a vocation.  A job that pays the bills is necessary to the body, but work done with integrity and love is what feeds our spirits. 

Each of us is invited into holy work, work that engages our mind and body and spirit.   As humans coming of age, we search for the place where our deep gladness, the use of our particular skills and talents and gifts, may be devoted to tasks that are meaningful, to work that matters.  In a world of options and choices and constraints it is hard to find our own path.  Sometimes we are called to join the family business, but often our own path may not necessarily be the path parents expect  Our own path may differ from the path our friends take.  Two roads diverged in the yellow wood.

It is hard to find our very own vocation.   That is why we need good teachers for those who are just beginning to discover their identity, their calling. The vocation of the ones who name capacity and talent that a young person cannot see is essential for the flourishing of our community.  The vocation of the ones who unfold the great stories so that our culture’s wisdom is shared is essential for a rich inner life for all our people.  Stories of friendship, and courage in the face of uncertainty teach us all our lives.  The vocation of the ones who help young adults find their place in the ongoing pageant of our community’s history, and future, is essential.  The vocation of an Educator, a Hope Bearer, is Good and Holy Work

Linda Beaulieu did her work well, every day of her life.  With joy she did her work.  With integrity she walked the halls of Stevens High School, and the side streets of Claremont.  With grace she danced.  In delight she called forth the best in her students, and sent them, sends you on to flourish.  No lesson she taught, no gift she gave can ever be taken away.  You have that forever, and what she gave you will be a lamp on your path.  Linda’s work had meaning.  It mattered.  Now her work is finished.  She has been enfolded into the company of the saints in light, she sees God face to face and is embraced by God’s loving presence. 

Linda Beaulieu’s work passed on to you.  Remember her, remember what she taught you.  Then put on your red shoes, and follow your path with joy and integrity. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Right Question

At the time of the recent Israeli elections a team from the PBS News Hour focused on economic, political and social issues that affect the people of that land.  In the segment addressing relationships between Jewish Israelis and the Palestinians who live on the other side of the separation wall Margaret Warner asked a young Palestinian woman ‘do you think Israel has a right to exist?”  The twentysomething graphic designer smiled and said “No, of course not, but it’s a fact.”   www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/jan-june13/israel_02-01.html

Visitors begin with that question, as if it is the foundational question.  And it is, from the Jewish Israeli point of view.  In a land founded on the violent dispossession of thousands of Palestinians, a dispossession that continues as settlements are built, the Dispossessor cries out for recognition of its right to exist.  It is so easy for us to see only that side of a complicated story.  We know well the stories of murder and dispossession of millions of Jews from their homes all across Europe.  We do not know so well the stories of the Palestinian suffering that followed the creation of the Jewish homeland, the sanctuary for Jews from across the world. 

It is so easy for Christian Pilgrims to visit the Holy Land without coming into contact with any Palestinian people.  The plane lands in Israel, the taxi flies over a highway prohibited to Palestinians.  The tour bus includes an Israeli licensed guide, visiting the Holy Sites in Galilee, and Nazareth.   Only in a visit to Bethlehem might a visitor encounter the West Bank, and notice the separation wall. But there may not be time to notice the ongoing destruction of Palestinian homes and olive groves, the detentions of angry Palestinian children, or the diversion of water needed by residents of refugee camps for cooking and bathing so that Jewish settlers living up the hill can fill their swimming pools.   Only by walking with people beyond the wall is it possible to see the impact of the creation of the State of Israel on the lives of the families who have lived on this land for centuries.  Jewish Peace activists know that Jewish Israelis are imprisoned by the wall, diminished by the separation from their neighbors.  Only by hearing their stories, their struggle, their hope is it possible to ask the Right Question.   

Warner’s question was the equivalent of asking a woman carrying her child along the Trail of Tears “Does the State of Georgia have a right to exist?”  No, of course not, might does not make right, but it’s a fact.  The right question gently wonders how we might support the people of that land to rebuild a more just community where all the stories of suffering and hope are honored.  The right question is more like  “what are do you want for your children?” and “how can we, your neighbors, support you in your dream for peace?”  and  “how can we, your neighbors, and urge our own government to promote justice and peace in your land?” 

Perhaps someday more pilgrims from New Hampshire might carry their good will, and their inquiring and discerning hearts to visit the people of Israel/Palestine and to ask more questions, and deepen our connections so that we might better pray for peace in the world that we share.    
- Susan Langle

Friday, January 11, 2013

Another Place to Look ...

If you want to know more about Trinity ... take a look at our new webpage ...
www. trinityclaremont.org

Beit Sephor - A Christmas Homily

On this starry night I bring you a story from Beit Sephor, the Shepherds Fields, a little village on the outskirts of Bethlehem.

This Palestinian village in the West Bank is home to thousands of Christian and Muslim men and women.  Thirty years ago the leaders of the village were talking and thinking and planning for freedom.  They were imagining how they might join in the resistance movement against the Israeli military occupying their homeland.  They read the reflections of Martin Luther King.  They knew of Gandhi, of Tutu and Jesus.  They knew that peaceful resistance against violence is a powerful weapon. 

The people of Beit Sephor had also heard about a tea party organized in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  They determined to engage in a tax revolt, refusing to pay the taxes and fees assessed by the Israeli occupation for property, electricity, water and all the other high cost, second rate services provided by the government.[i] 

In preparing their strategy they knew they had to find ways to feed their children.  They planted Victory Gardens.  They built chicken coops.  But providing milk was a problem.  They were dependent on Israeli suppliers for their children’s milk and that could be cut off in a heartbeat if the Israeli Army decided to do so.  They needed milk independence.

Beit Sephor is a village made of stone, in a country made of stone.  The people who live there are city dwellers.  Its been a long time since anyone grazed herds.  A group of intellectuals did some research, bought 18 cows from a kibbutz, hired a consultant and started a dairy cooperative.[ii]  The milk was very good.   Their children were happy.

One day, one of the cows did something strange.  She started jumping around, and then she lay down in the hay.  They were perplexed and concerned.  A crowd gathered, and someone called the village physician.  They realized she was about to give birth.  The modern people of this village had never seen a live birth – they were awed. There was great joy,   “As if a childless family had their firstborn child.”   Something unexpected, powerful and mysterious had happened among them.  They were filled with love for their newborn calf.  Now they had 19 beautiful cows in their herd.  

As the resistance movement took root, some Palestinian people resisted with weapons.  The Boston Tea Party was not the only path to independence.  The Israeli government responded to the armed uprising with enormous force.  As the fighting started Bethlehem was surrounded by the army, invaded by tanks.  Manger Square became a battle ground.  People were trapped in the Church of the Nativity.  People were shot going to church.

Nearby, Beit Sephor was put under curfew by the Israeli Army. The military arrested people, seized property, threatened children to try to break them, to get them to pay taxes.  Many many people suffered while holding on to their peaceful resistance.

It didn’t take long for the Army to hear about the cows.    A band of green helmeted soldiers accompanied by the Miltary commander entered the farm with cameras and took a mug shot of every cow.    The commander issued the order:  You have 24 hours to shut down the farm or I will send in bulldozers and knock it down.   “Why?” demanded their caretaker.  “Those cows are a direct threat to National Security of the State of Israel.”  Well really!  Why would 19 cows be a threat to the most powerful military in the Middle East?  The people of Beit Sephor were not about to surrender their cows.  They divided the herd, and began moving them in the night from place to place. 

The army began to search.  And Search.  They sent jeep loads of soldiers.  They sent helicopters.  They paid informants.  They used every high tech surveillance device they had.  The more the defiance and the resistance of the people of Beit Sephor succeeded, the more determined the Israeli Army became to hunt down the fugitive bovines.   Operation Cow went on for months.  

In the end, the Army got the cows, but not before the ordinary people of Beit Sephor had been reminded of the power of hope in the darkness, the power of loving,  fearless non-violent action in the face of overwhelming force. They were indeed transformed by the possibility that the Rulers of this World might not be invincible. 


Two thousand years ago Beit Sephor was not yet a village.  It was simply a rocky hillside on the outskirts of the tiny collection of buildings called Bethlehem.  Two thousand years ago Beit Sephor was a place where shepherds kept sheep and goats.  Then as now, people lived in the town and went out to their fields and orchards to plant, and prune and harvest, returning at night to their families and their warm safe stone homes.   But its never been safe to leave animals on their own in the night so a few men have the job of living rough, and staying out in the cold all night, obliged by their bosses to beat off both wolves and robbers.

Two thousand years ago the cities were occupied by a foreign army and controlled by a corrupt collaborationist king, and religious authorities who didn’t want to make trouble for anyone, least of all themselves.  Two thousand years ago a tax census was ordered so that the occupying government could squeeze more out of the local population.  All of the people suffered under the occupation.   Some of them resisted with swords, some resisted with words.

Two thousand years ago  a small group of nobodies were huddled on the cold ground, on a cold desert night, and they heard something like singing.  They saw something like seraphim and cherubim.  They heard something like a great announcement.   They were awed.   Two thousand years ago, a small group of nobodies were astonished that they were the first to hear that Something Unexpected, powerful and mysterious, had happened among them.

Two thousand years ago a small group of rough men did the unthinkable.  They left the job and went to see for themselves if this announcement was true.  They found what they were looking for, what they were hoping for, and their lives were transformed. 


Two thousand years later, on this cold dark night, here we are on the edge of world, in a place where not much unexpected, or powerful or mysterious happens.  Or does it?   If we have eyes to see, perhaps we can see that tender vulnerability of a new life can stir up in us the courage to give everything we have to protect that child.  If we have ears to hear, perhaps we can hear the stories of our ancestors that we do not have to settle for the world the way it is.  A better life for all people is possible. 

This starry night you and I are invited again to see with the eyes of our heart that the Rulers of this World are not invincible.  This starry night families who grieve, parents who struggle to feed their kids, people who work in lonely and dangerous places are reminded that we are not alone in our yearning for real peace, real justice, real joy.  God is with us, in vulnerability and yearning for liberation.  God is with us in courageous acts of love.

This cold starry night we gather together, and hold up our lights in the darkness because we have seen, we have heard that the Reign God’s Righteousness is arrived.  God’s power to renew and redeem of the world is moving among us.  We who have waited in the darkness have seen the birth of God’s Shalom.  Come let us rejoice.    AMEN. 


[i] Popular Resistance in Palestine:  A Story of Hope and Empowerment ,  Mazin B. Quimsiyeh (Pluto Press 2011)
[ii] http://mondoweiss.net/2011/05/a-story-of-the-most-powerful-army-in-the-middle-east-chasing-18-cows.html

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Resistance Solidarity and Hope - A report from Israel/Palestine by Jaqueline Hall

My Overview of the Women’s Witness Trip to Israel & Palestine - Jacquelyn L. Hall


Our tour began in the Bethlehem District, Palestinian territory under occupation.

I want to explain what occupation in Palestine means. It means that the occupying force, in this case, the Israeli Government, has taken land usually by force, from the Palestinians and paid Israeli families substantial amounts of money to move into housing developments in the West Bank. The developments are large clusters of homes usually built on the highest ground in the area. Israeli army troops protect the settlers.

Many Palestinians are not opposed to living as neighbors with the Israelis as they have done so peacefully since before the time of Christ. The objection is to Palestinians being forced to leave their homes, often with twenty-four hours notice. Many we re told to leave temporarily with the assurance they would be able to return. When they left, they found soldiers would not allow them to return. There is an Israeli law that if one does not occupy the property for 90 days, it is considered abandoned property. If Palestinians did not return to their land, even though they were physically prevented from doing so, the land was given to Israeli settlers. Usually, the Israeli settlers have no idea they have been given stolen property.

What if the Palestinians don’t leave when ordered to? The Israeli ‘s modified Cat bulldozer arrives and not only bulldozes their home, but bulldozes the old and valuable olive trees from which the Palestinian families make their living. Many Palestinians have practiced non-violent resistance by refusing to leave and rebuilding their house only to have the Israelis bulldoze them again. These steadfast Palestinians have continued to rebuild as many times as necessary just to keep their property.

To “protect” the settlements, the Israeli government has built walls separating the settlers from the Palestinians (except for the few who keep rebuilding their homes).

They build these walls well away from the settlers so they further encroach on Palestinian homes. In Bethlehem, we were invited to a beautiful Palestinian home with gorgeous landscaping. This home used to be located on a large main highway to Jerusalem. Now, a very narrow path in front of the house makes it necessary to walk to the house and park the car on a side street. We were told there had been a lovely view of the surrounding hills. Now there is a cement wall that is higher than a three-story building. The walls look like, and effectively are, prison walls complete with circular barbed razor wire at the top and guard towers on the corners with cameras and guards monitoring the wall.

The Palestinian people write messages and draw murals on their side of the wall. The statements tell their stories and encourage peace and non-violent resistance. Messages on the walls talk about faith and hope of return to their homes. Many pictures of keys are everywhere. The key is symbolic of the fact that Palestinians often still have the keys to the homes they were forced to leave even up to forty years ago. They haven’t lost the hope of return. There is a picture of a young Palestinian boy posed facing the wall with his hands behind his back. The story is that he dreams of returninhome and will not turn around until the occupation is over. The walls built by Israel to separate the occupying Israeli settlers and their soldiers are nothing short of apartheid.


Another problem created by the occupation is the forced separation of families. People are confined to the area surrounded by the walls. If some members of your family live on the other side of the wall, you not only won’t be able to see them, you won’t be able to talk with them as there are telephone transmission jamming devices built into the walls. The stated reason for this is fear of terrorist attacks, but the underlying reason is really an effort to so demoralize the Palestinians so that they will just leave Israel. The Israeli GOVERNMENT’S plan is to make life intolerable for the Palestinians by severely restricting their ability to move about. I have read at least two books in which members of the Israeli Government have actually stated that fact. One book is The Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim and the other is Palestine, Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter.

Furthermore, if an Arab Israeli, a Palestinian who live s in Israel, were to marry someone from the occupied West Bank or Gaza, then this is the choice: Either the Israeli Arab gives up his/her citizenship, and as a result, the freedom to move about the country in order to live in the West Bank or Gaza, or the husband and wife live separately because the person in the occupied territory cannot move to Israel. The other option is to move to another country. The children are usually raised in Israel so they will have freedom and opportunity. Once they reach the age of 16, the children are no longer given a permit by the Israeli Government to see the parent in occupied territory.

In addition to the settlements and the walls, the Israeli government has built an elaborate highway system for Israeli settlers. Palestinians must have a permit to use these highways that are built right over the land taken from them. Permits are very difficult to obtain and the entrance to these highways is controlled by Israeli checkpoints manned by 18-21 year old soldiers carrying AK47s, usually with their finger on the trigger. Palestinians who have a permit are still often detained at checkpoints for as long as the soldiers wish to detain them. 

Palestinians who live in the occupied territory seldom are issued permits to use these highways. Instead they are forced to drive miles out of their way on poor quality roads taking two or three hours when the highway would take ten minutes. To further frustrate the Palestinians, the Israeli soldiers block different roads on different days, so one could drive for two hours on a bumpy road only to arrive at a pile of rocks or dirt blocking the road. The soldiers also set up random checkpoints on Palestinian roads. Palestinians with medical emergencies have been detained at the checkpoint so long the patient has died.

In the occupied Palestinian Territory, the Israeli settlers have diverted the water supply to the settlements. The settlers take 80% of the water and the other 20% is rationed throughout the West Bank of Palestine. We first stayed at the Bethlehem Hotel on the occupied West Bank. The shower only trickled with water. Later, at Aida Refugee Camp we learned that the water only comes every twenty-one days! In fact, the person who talked with us said her family had been two months without water. When the Israelis turn on the water for the Palestinians, they call the PLO and the PLO notifies the Palestinians in the West Bank that there will be six hours of water so they can store up as much as possible during that six hours. If the call is missed, the family will have to wait another twenty-one days for water. I watched families draw water from a public faucet and lug it home. In Hebron, where settlers are occupying right in the market place complex, children pointed to water barrels on the roof of their home, showing us holes shot in the bottom of the water barrel by the Israeli soldiers who guard the settlers occupying the adjacent building.

Human rights violations in the occupied territory are especially disturbing because Israel is considered to be a democracy supported by the United States. However, democracy does not apply to non-Jewish residents within Israel or the territories under occupation. Arabs are tried in military courts with unequal representation and more severe punishments for the same crimes committed by Jewish Israelis. The most disturbing stories I heard were in respect to arrests of children. Parents describe being awakened in the middle of the night by soldiers who enter their homes with AK 47s pointed at them. Their homes are searched and one of their children, between 12 – 16 years of age, is arrested for throwing stones. If the child had been seen throwing stones, it would be reasonable to arrest the child during the day. To arrest in the middle of the night creates terror.

One mother described being on a bus with her 4 year old child when the soldiers entered the bus and took the child at gunpoint and held the mother back at gun -point. The child was screaming for his mother. Many Palestinian children have experienced serious emotional trauma from these types of activities. Defense for Children International, Palestine Section has published a book of research entitled BOUND, BLINDFOLDED,  and CONVICTED: Children held in military detention (April 2012). The book has many case studies and interviews as well as the number of cases and types of abuses inflicted on Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers.

The Palestinians refer to the unholy trinity of the Israeli occupation: the settlements in Palestine, the walls built around the settlements separating and cutting off transportation routes and keeping families apart, and the refugee camps.

The moderate Israeli and Palestinian people praised the Oslo Agreement, which provided for a phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces from the West Bank, the establishment of a Palestinian governing authority with officials to be elected, and a five -year interim period during which the more difficult and specific issues would be negotiated. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Rabin all received the Nobel Peace Prize for reaching an historic agreement in 1993. Unfortunately, there were radical individuals on both sides who opposed the Oslo Agreement. Hope for peace was severely damaged when an Israeli right-wing religious fanatic, who declared that his goal was to interrupt the peace process, assassinated Prime Minister Rabin.

For years the peace process has been stalled. Meanwhile the Israeli Government has been busy building as many settlements (more than 300), complete with the walls and segregated highways, and grabbing as much land as possible in an effort to prevent a contiguous area of land for the Palestinians to have a Palestinian State. 

The resilience and steadfast hope of the Palestinians in the face of extreme hardship and cruelty is amazing. Women, with whom we met, spoke honestly about the evolution of feelings. For a long time they felt very angry about the daily injustices the Palestinian people endure. One woman told us as she continued to evaluate the circumstances; she realized that anger and hate just make one weaker and stupid. She and others have learned to fight the enemy with peace and love. They do not see the Jewish people as their enemy. Instead, the enemy they are fighting is greed, exclusivity, and the abuse of religion. By using non-violent resistance, they give no justification for Israeli aggression. Violence gives an excuse for more repression. The pattern of Arab/Israeli violence needs to be broken, because all efforts towards peace become invisible when violence erupts. The two nations don’t know each other very well and the media feeds the extremes.

There are efforts among both Palestinians and Jews to establish dialog between the citizens. Through dialog each side discovers the feelings and fear of the other side and they see the humanity of each other. Instead of clinging to traditional ideologies and turning their pain into more violence, many have begun to try to understand the other side by sharing their pain and humanity. The Parent Circle and the Bereaved Family Forum are examples of a gathering network of survivors of victims who share their grief, their stories of loved ones, and their ideas for a lasting peace. Israel can’t deal with the holocaust and Palestine can’t deal with the repression. A personal narrative breaks down barriers and enables restorative justice to begin.

Kids for Peace is an international organization that takes 4 Jewish kids, 4 Muslim Kids, and 4 Christian kids and sends them to summer camp for two weeks in July. The kids are 12 years old. The two boys and two girls chosen from each religion are called The Children of Abraham. Prior to the camp there are 10-12 meetings for the kids and parents, one every two weeks.

The Women’s Witness Trip provides a forum for Palestinians, Israelis and Christians to tell their stories, their reality of life today to people who can carry their stories back to churches and communities throughout the United States because the United States Government has a powerful influence on Israel.

Collectively, citizens of the United States can subsequently have a powerful influence on Washington. America bears responsibility for Israel’s behavior because we have been complicit in their actions. Israel has a right to define their interests and stand up for them, but just because Israel defines its interests, doesn’t mean we have an obligation to go along with human rights abuses that are being inflicted daily on a people, strangling t their freedom and dignity. This is a situation where one group of people is being stepped on daily by another. We are treating Israel like a spoiled child that no one will say “no” to. When the United States says we have Israel ’s back, but don’t call them out on their behavior in a way that gets their attention no matter what they do, then what does that make us? Not a good friend.

A primary reason that the Arab countries hate Israel and the United States is due to the way Palestinians are being treated. The United States needs to demand that Israel treat the Palestinians with dignity and freedom and tie further financial aid to a just and permanent two state peace solution. Only then will the Arab countries have better relations toward Israel and the West.

The people have awakened around the world and are using non-violent popular resistance to achieve freedom and dignity, a right of every human being. There are thousands of Jewish, Palestinian, and Christian voices for Peace. With steadfast hope and faith, their voices will be heard and influence the government so that a just and fair peace will be achieved.

                         Praying that God's Shalom of peace and justice may come on earth.   - Jackie