Just over a year ago, on Christmas Day, 2002, Israeli soldiers constructed a high fence and gate on our street right beside our door in Hebron, cutting off access to Shuhada Street for us and everyone else in the Chicken Market. We then had to walk two blocks north to get to Shuhada Street and come back down the street to walk south on that street from our apartment Members of our Christian Peacemaker Team wondered what the meaning of that barrier was in the larger picture of what was happening in Hebron. Now we have a clearer understanding. That tall fence and gate outside our door is part of the wall being built all around the West Bank, walling in (imprisoning) most of the Palestinian people into small areas (cantons or reservations), and at the same time taking about half of the West Bank. The Palestinian land on the outside of the wall is becoming Israeli land. Slowly, the streets on the other side of the wall in Hebron becoming available for Jews only. Settlers here say those streets have now been "purified". Increasingly Israeli soldiers are stopping us on the street and asking us to identify our religion. How we answer that question determines which streets we are allowed to walk on. Ever since first coming to Hebron in 1995, I have been disturbed by all the evidences of racism embedded in the occupation. Apartheid, the separation of peoples, is becoming more and more stark. This year I have little contact with Israeli settlers, because we are separated by the fence, the wall. As a believer in the oneness of God, the oneness of creation, the oneness of humanity, I find that apartheid wall deeply offensive. It contradicts everything I hold dear and sacred. It must be stopped. But sadly, it is being subsidized by US taxpayers via the loans and aid the US gives Israel.. I wonder why. People have built many walls of separation throughout history. Every one of them has fallen, and every one of them now looks foolish. This wall will also come down someday. I wonder, however, how many more people on both sides will have to die before we learn that we must either live together or die together. Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative of the (Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Quakers) with support and membership from a range of Catholic and Protestant denominations.
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