The UN Vote and the Days Following

In the Shadow of the Wall
Bethlehem Celebrates the UN Bid
Photo Credit: Public Domain

November 29 ~ EAPPI Group 45 has gathered in East Jerusalem for our final debriefing days before returning to our various countries. It is a historic day. Israelis in support of the Palestinian bid are rallying in Tel Aviv in front of Independence Hall where Israel announced its own independence 65 years ago. Yet on this particular night, the city streets of East Jerusalem are relatively quiet given the numerous celebrations that are taking place across the West Bank. Many of us are glued to the TV in the lobby of the Capitol Hotel. Seeing the celebrations live on the screen, our Bethlehem Team is longing to be “back home” in Bethlehem rather than sitting in a hotel lobby ~ When the result of the vote is announced a little past midnight, an explosion of fireworks in the eastern part of the city is joined by a loud cheer from our hotel. We rush outside to see a few cars driving past, flags flying and horns honking.

EAs Celebrate the UN Vote
Damascus Gate ~ East Jerusalem
Photo Credit: Harold

Wanting to celebrate this historic moment, we grab our coats and walk/run to the Damascus Gate of the Old City. But everything is quiet ~ unusually so. Why? Are the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem weighing the “cost” of Israel’s potential response to their desire to celebrate their new status in the global community? We walk home soberly ~ wondering …

It is November 30 ~ Yesterday, a large majority of the world’s countries agreed that Palestine should be a state with observer status. In the end, all the US/Israeli lobbying could not convince otherwise. But this morning Haaretz, the mainstream Israeli newspaper, writes that Netanyahu has announced the building of 3,000 new housing units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. And legislation is about to be introduced in the US that seeks to withhold Palestinian aid. Israel is also threatening to withhold Palestinian taxes and tariffs.

Poster ~ Occupied East Jerusalem
30 November 2012
Photo Credit: Dawn

Are these appropriate responses to a non-violent Palestinian request for global recognition? Are these the things that make for peace? What are we so afraid of? Does the recognition of my rights diminish yours? ~ It appears that life on the ground goes on as usual ~ settlement expansion, checkpoints, restriction of movement, permit system, house evictions, demolitions. Some feel that the vote changes nothing ~ Yet something is different. A spark of hope. A light in the dark. A sense of dignity. A pregnant pause. A deep breath ~ Could this possibly be the beginning of something new?

EAPPI Group 45 Passes the Light to Group 46
Bethlehem Team
Photo Credit: Genesis

December 1 ~ Beginnings are difficult. So are endings. Three months ago, 33 of us arrived from 17 countries, eager and ready to embrace our task of accompaniment. And now 3 months later the last EAs in Group 45 prepare to take their leave. The torch has been passed to Group 46, and the previous week has been one goodbye after another ~ There is a Palestinian saying that after 40 days of being together, you become family. It is true ~ There is our Bethlehem family ~ those who cannot leave ~ who do not have the freedom to travel or the means to do so. They have nowhere to go. This is their home. They are our family and we have to say goodbye ~ There is our EAPPI family ~ those with whom we have shared so much over these past 3 months. These moments will never again be recreated. We have been changed by what we have lived and experienced together. They are our family and we have to say goodbye.

~ Possibilities ~
The Gate in the Bethlehem Wall Opens
Photo Credit: Dawn

But each ending also holds the possibility of a new beginning ~ Neither is easy ~ As EAPPI Group 45 leaves for home, we go with full hearts ~ with gratitude for all that has been ~ with hope for all that might be ~ Our deepest hope is that in the wake of the events of November 29, there might emerge the will to let go of the old so that the new might come to birth ~ Could it be that an end to the cycle of violence might birth the beginning of mutual respect? Could it be that an end to the scarcity myth might birth a reality of abundance? Could it be that an end to the concern for “me and mine” might birth a concern for the common good of all who share this land? ~ Isn’t it past time for an end to the old and a birth of the new? ~ The gate is ajar. May all concerned have the courage to walk through and embrace the possibilities that await on the other side of the wall.

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7 Responses to The UN Vote and the Days Following

  1. Lori says:

    Blessings for your journey home, Dawn.

  2. Thinking of you in the mix of emotions you must be experiencing.
    How blessed are you – and through you – your friends – to have been a part of this journey,
    Safe travels, Mary Faith

  3. Marianna Harris says:

    Thanks for this and for all your work. Best wishes as you return home. Marianna Harris

  4. shelagh says:

    Each day I wonder why Canada opposed the acceptance. I have written my scathing letters decrying the Israeli occupation and terror tactics. I keep hearing a long ago Poli Sci prof saying, it never is what it appears to be. I gaze at my chess board wishing I was a better chess player and could see the two and three steps ahead that my professor seemed to do. I keep ‘praying’ that the Canadian government is wiser than it appears to be. I can only hope and send to you my gratitude for your and the other EAPPI 45 roles in seeking to accompany the Palestinians. May the bully Israel find itself powerless and very alone, very soon, with few options but checkmate or better still, see the light and forfeit in love.

  5. Kay Clowater says:

    Thank you so much Dawn for sharing your experiences with us. I was able to share the contents of your blog with our Wed. morning group while studying the Kairos document, “A Moment of Truth.” It was beneficial to have an up to date view of the situation through the contents of your blog…truly an eye opener for many. Hopefully your re-entry to Edmonton will be enjoyable. The UN vote will be the beginning of something new, however, there will be birth pangs along the way.

    Much Love,

  6. Alice Watson says:

    Thank you, Dawn, for being a witness for justice and hope for the future. I will be sharing this blog with the Advent study group on Palestine-Israel I am facilitating. Just wanted you to know that I’ve followed your blog all these months and am sharing what I know so that justice will be the prayer of the people. Blessings, love and warm regard, Alice

  7. Dianne Baker says:

    Dawn, wishing you a peaceful heart as you transition back to Canada. The poiognancy of the Advent and Christmas season will be so clear for you as images of today’s Bethlehem flood your mind. Welcome to the community of returned EAs. Know that there are so many of us willing to share your stories of hope and heartbreak, of determination and delight. Salaam, shalom and peace. Thank you for your witness.

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