November 20, 2008, Hebron] On the afternoon of my first trip to Hebron, on June 21, 2005, I vowed that I would never return, for it was the most painful place I have ever been.
I broke that vow on November 20, 2008.
In June 2005 I left my sanctuary on ten acres in paradise to fly to Israel Palestine for the first time. I was the Christian voice of the Interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace.
On November 11, 2008, I embarked upon my sixth trip to Israel Palestine as a member of the global ecumenical Christian Liberation Theology movement known as Sabeel [Arabic for The Way] for their 7th International Conference:
The Nakba; Memory, Reality and Beyond.
Nothing prepared me for my first trek upon the ancient streets with no names, for although I had researched the Israeli Palestinian conflict for two years, I did not know that I knew nothing until I experienced life in occupied territory.
I admit that I am biased.
I am on the side of ALL the poor, oppressed, voiceless and innocent ones who are caught in the cross fire of violence. War and Military Occupation are the ultimate expression of terror and exemplify what the anti-Christ is all about; for they go against everything that Jesus taught, lived and modeled with his NONVIOLENT, forgiving, loving and compassionate life.
Jesus was never a Christian, for that term was not even coined until the days of Paul-three decades after the social justice radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior rose up against the corrupt Temple authorities and challenged their job security by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God.
For God LOVED them ALL, just as they were: sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under the Roman Empire and Military Occupation.
What got Jesus and any other rebel, dissident, agitator crucified was disturbing the status quo of the Roman Empire and Occupying Forces; for crucifixion was the empires method of capital punishment.
My guide through Hebron in 2005, was Jerry Levin, who then was a full time volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Teams/CPT. In the 1980's Jerry was CNN's Middle East bureau chief in Lebanon. He was captured and held hostage by the Hezbollah for nearly a year, and on Christmas Eve, although a secular Jew, Jerry has a mystical experience and shortly thereafter, escaped unharmed, for the door of his holding place had been left unlocked and untended. He became a true Christian and he and his wife [a life long Christian] have devoted their lives to doing something to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Jerry told me, "Every time I get ready to return to Palestine, everyone asks me, 'Aren't you afraid?' I reply, of what, the Palestinians? No way! But when it comes to the Israelis soldiers, you bet I am!"My guide in 2008, was D, a most dedicated and humble CPT. Every CPT, not only imagines what would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war, they do something about it by getting in the way of military occupations and stand up with and in front of the occupied and oppressed.
A Little History of Hebron:
From 1922 through 1928 the relationship between Jews and Palestinians was peaceful in Hebron.
But, in late 1928 a wave of violence began and 67 Jews were cold bloodily murdered due to the violence of outside agitating Arabs regarding the right of Jews to pray at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem.