Reprinted from Christian Peacemaker Teams with Permission
Hebron, West Bank
23 January, 2008
Right after the big meeting in Annapolis, Md., 27 November 2007, I returned to the Middle East for another three months of work with Christian Peacemaker Teams. I have been viewing that meeting and President Bush’s recent trip to the Middle East from the perspective of what I see happening in Israel/Palestine. So far, I have not seen one step taken by government authorities here toward peace.
On the very day the meeting took place in Annapolis, Israeli soldiers came to the village of At-Tuwani where I am living to deliver a military order to demolish the mosque in the village.
The Israeli government has announced that they will continue settlement construction and expansion in spite of international law and recent agreements. Immediately after the Annapolis talks, the Israeli government announced they would build 300 new housing units right outside Bethlehem. Even the Bush administration protested this clear violation of the Annapolis agreement. Sixteen new settlements were established in the West Bank in the two weeks before Bush’s visit.
Building of the Wall continues to isolate Palestinian communities and results in the confiscation of Palestinian land. One small section of the Wall south of Bethlehem will result in the loss of 5,000 acres of prime farmland for Bethlehem area farmers.
Israeli military killing of Palestinians has greatly increased since the Annapolis meeting. The kill ratio now is over forty Palestinians killed by Israelis for every Israeli killed by Palestinians. The situation in Gaza is horrendous, as has been well reported in the news media lately.
I continue to look for signs of peace. I have seen none coming from governments. The only signs of peace I see are the grass-roots efforts of Palestinians and Israelis to build a nonviolent movement to end the Occupation and bring Israelis and Palestinians together in peace. That excites me.