How Does One Pray After a Week Like This One?

Last week was a hard one in the West Bank …

November 5 … The Israeli government announced plans to move forward with the construction of 1,214 homes [N.B. for settlers] in the West Bank.

November 6 … The Israeli army conducted night raids in the village of Azzun near Qalqiliya, arresting several teens, including minors. [N.B. There were numerous night raids last week. As of 11 November, 20 boys and young men had been arrested, half of whom are under 18 years of age.]

Home Demolition ~ Haris Village
Photo Credit: Dawn

November 7 … Israeli forces crossed into Haris village with bulldozers and demolished 3 homes. In clashes between Israeli soldiers and villagers, six Palestinians and 2 journalists were injured.

November 7 … Israeli authorities issued eviction orders to 40 families in the southern Jordan Valley village of Khirbet Tana. The Israeli army is planning to turn the area into a military training zone, and the families were given until Saturday to leave their homes.

November 7 … Israeli settlers from Rechaim [N.B. settlement] uprooted over 100 olive trees and sprayed racist graffiti (“Death to the Arabs”) in the village of Al-Sawiya. Settler attacks on Palestinian communities and their property are systematic and rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.

November 7 … Israeli forces raided a stone quarry in the Bethlehem village of Beit Fajjar.

November 8 … Israeli assaults against Palestinian journalists constitute a flagrant violation of all international laws and conventions. A media rights group organized a sit-in in Ramallah to protest these abuses.

Nahhalin Village
Land Confiscation and Destruction of Olive Trees
Photo Credit: Sophie

November 8 … The Israeli army provided protection for contract workers who destroyed over 40 olive trees on village lands in Nahhalin near Bethlehem. Army forces told villagers the lands were owned by Israel and that Palestinians were prohibited from reaching them or planting on them.

November 8 … Israeli authorities demolished three buildings and a water cistern in the south Hebron hills. Forces bulldozed a two-story house in al-Deirat village before flattening a sheep stable. The officials then moved to nearby Jawwaya village, where they demolished a house and water cistern which holds rainfall.

November 9 … The Israeli army ordered over 1,000 Palestinians from 7 villages in the northern Jordan Valley to evacuate their homes to make way for a 3-week long joint US-Israeli military training exercise dubbed “Austere Challenge 12” involving 3,500 US military personnel.

Shabbat in Jerusalem
Western Wall and Dome of the Rock
Photo Credit: Dawn

November 9 … It’s Friday and I am in Jerusalem for a day off ~ I wander past bazaars and through narrow allies. The siren sounds to signal the beginning of the Sabbath ~ Shabbat ~ a holy day for Jews around the world and especially in this storied city ~ Pondering the unholy events of the week which has passed, I find myself at an overlook which affords a magnificent view of the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall ~ This ancient wall is teaming with the faithful. But what does it mean to be faithful? ~ Is not the Golden Rule the same in every faith tradition? In the final analysis, is it not about how we treat our neighbour? And according to a first century teacher of alternative wisdom, it is not just our neighbor, but our enemy (or perceived enemy) that is to be the focus of our love ~ To desire for them what we desire for ourselves ~ If we could only live these teachings, it would change the world ~ but not this week … The words of Rabbi Hillel from just before the common era present us with a challenge, If not now, when? I wonder: Do we have the courage to respond?

Shabbat at the Western Wall
Photo Credit: Dawn

The sound of prayers rising from the Western Wall draws me back to the moment ~ But how is one to pray on this Shabbat, given the events of this week? The words that come to mind are words attributed to another rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth ~ Forgive us our trespasses ~ Deliver us from evil ~ Forgive us because we do not know what we are doing ~ I want to believe this is true, but I am left wondering…

Note: The running chronology comes from Ma’an News and/or eye witness reports from EAPPI team members.

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13 Responses to How Does One Pray After a Week Like This One?

  1. Randy Langley says:

    Dawn – thanks for your blogs. I’m very proud of what you are doing. Cheers Randy

  2. Lori Stewart says:

    When I read your posts I am always stunned by what is not reported in the mainstream media. You and the other observers play such a valuable role in getting the “lost news” to the outside world.

  3. Jo Nicholas says:

    I wonder too… I wonder how can the world powers support this flagrant abuse of power? How can these people ( Palestinians) not count as worthy of support? My heart is broken open but to what? What can we do here other than what we are? Is it enough? I fear that it is not.

    Miss you and look forward to expansive learning when you return safely home… love light and laughter ~~Jo

  4. Dawn, you have been in my mind all day as we heard the news of the targeted killing in Gaza strip – now to see this report – heart is breaking, as I can only imagine yours is – sharing your posts in worship when I can to get the news out – take care of yourself – joining you in the Lord’s Prayer – and holding the Palestinian people in my heart.
    Mary Faith

  5. Allan Slater says:

    I will spread this informative but sad report as widely as possible. Thanks for your good work.

  6. Rob Wells says:

    Dawn, your sincerest prayer is exposing these atrocities for the world to see. Now, it is our collective responsibility as seekers of justice to demand a stop to this violence.


  7. Janet E. Campbell says:

    Dawn, I pray for your safety in all of this as you continue to live in this area of violence and destruction. I will have to pray even harder that somehow you and the others that are caught in this living space will continue to find a way to live and survive. I am really starting to get it now that even though there are a few good Jewish folk who are trying to stop the atrocities, there are many more who are causing extreme pain and chaos in the lives of many innocent children and adults in the Gaza Strip. Interesting how they came in and arrested the males, as they are perceived to be more of a threat. If I am going to have trouble sleeping then I might as well solve it by praying hard for your safety and that of the Palestinian families around you. Where do they go once their homes have been demolished? Keep yourself and co-workers and as many other humans and feline families alive as long as possible.
    Sending you strength,
    Janet E. Campbell

  8. Theresa Wynn says:

    Oh, Dawn… Reading your blog chronicling the events of the last week tears my heart apart. Your conundrum is, undoubtedly, shared by all who pray for justice and mercy but can’t quite see it from where we/you sit. May God send you strength to carry on doing the best work that you can do under the circumstances. Your sharing to the outside world the atrocities opens eyes and hearts which is invaluable. Be safe, dear one. God bless.

  9. Dear Dawn, I’ve been worried sick about your safety this week. I agree with Rob Wells that you are surely doing your part in exposing the atrocities. My ongoing prayer is to enrich your strength to continue doing what you went to do..Your presence and every act of compassion lets injdividual Palistinians know there is someone who gives a damn. “Little bits of Water litle bits of Sand…”” If you think it safe to do so I will google the pentagon to question how they can justify partaking in that military exercise given the human diplacement. I will await your reply on this. Please be safe. I’m trying to remember to hug Nancy for you every time I see her. Counting the days until we see you. Janelle

  10. Kay Clowater says:

    Dawn, you have been on my mind a lot today. Be safe! I found it interesting to listen to the news today ….. info on uprisings ……. causalities …………. no mention of house demolitions.

  11. Shelagh says:

    I have been writing and calling friends who have connections. Keep safe and keep as much as possible all those around you safe. It is such a travesty! I just threw my slipper at Harper on the T.V. yapping about Israel having the right to defend itself against terrorism….. 😦
    I value my T.V. or it would have been something harder. Unfortuantely he likely won’t read my letter.

  12. Marilyn says:

    So glad to receive a blog, Dawn. We were worried with the news that we were hearing this past week. The events you include in this blog are all so disturbing. Even though we have been hearing repeatedly about the evictions, demolitions, etc., I still find it all so unbelievable — the inhumanity of it all. May your presence continue to provide hope.

  13. Phyllis Giovannetti says:

    dear Dawn, Your words are pregnant with sadness, grief and meaning. We must pray on, and visualize the healing and what a healed land would look like. Hard when you are there. WE must not give energy to the violence but to peaceyour picture with the newborn baby did this, your concern for the wee kittens and puppy. How to live and leave? How I wish I had followed more closely your journey. Love and prayers, Joyce Relyea

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