We Refuse To Be Enemies

Josh Suresh   -  

The West Bank has been considered disputed territory throughout history. The ownership of the territory continues to be highly contested because of profound differences in how the land is interpreted by Israelis and Palestinians. In the eyes of international law, and in the hearts of Israelis and Palestinians, as well as Christians, Jews and Muslims in the West Bank and across the globe, opinions greatly differ.

Tent of Nations is a farm located in the West Bank, southwest of Bethlehem, on a hilltop 3,000 feet above sea level. The farmland has been passed down for generations, belonging to the Nassar family for over a century.

“This land was bought by my grandfather in 1916, more than 100 years ago. We grew up connected to the land. We consider our land like our mother, that gives us fruit, that gives us food. We feel this spiritual connection to the land. It’s not just a physical place,” says Dauod Nassar.

Despite having the ownership papers, for Daoud and his family, land confiscation continues to be a constant threat. Israeli military authorities claim the farmland belongs to the state. In addition, on his own land, Daoud has no access to water or electricity.

Daoud’s struggle is a direct result of this territorial dispute between Palestine and Israel.

Personal stories such as this one should make us reconsider how we think about social unrest in Palestine. This crisis does not need to be a political issue — for Palestinians like Daoud, their first-hand experience has made it clear that this is a human rights issue. If both Israelis and Palestinians recognize and acknowledge the wrongs and injuries inflicted on each other, and if we all strive to listen to and empathize with one another, we can all come together to bring about reconciliation and make great strides for the common good.

While we can’t do everything all at once, God has empowered us to do something. That’s where The New Common comes in. As a church, we engage with organizations to build the capacity of community members. In Bethlehem, we have started to implement an entrepreneurial program alongside local business leaders, helped run workshops for local health and social service providers, and worked alongside NGOs to help alleviate poverty. We hope to continue our relationship with Daoud and the many other Israelis and Palestinians as we move forward in these endeavours.

If you’d like to be a part of our engagement in the Holy Land, consider joining a trip in 2021 by contacting info@thenewcommong.org. If you’re not ready to experience the Holy Land first-hand, another way to be a part of our engagement is to make a contribution of any amount to help support the activities of The New Common (https://trinitylife.ca/give).