Sr Mary writes from Jerusalem

 The pain, the shock and the grief over the terrorist attacks in America has been met with various reactions here in Jerusalem. I happened to be in an Israeli shop on Jaffa Rd. in west Jerusalem when the news broke. The shop owner who was an Israeli brought out a portable TV and the shop took on a circus atmosphere with exclamations of "Wow!" "Look at that!" "What a hit; look, look!" "Now Americans will know what terrorism is!" The shopkeeper kept yelling at me: "Do you know what this means?" I finally just left the shop, not wanting to hear any more of what our Israeli ally had to say. I was told that in another area of the city, at the Damascus Gate, Israeli security cameras recorded another "circus" as some Arabs expressed their satisfaction that Israel's friend, America, was now experiencing terror. For they were mindful that America has been supplying the Israeli Occupation Forces with F 16s, Apache helicopters and rockets, all of which continue to be used against the civilian Palestinian population. As I returned to the Christian Quarter of the Old City, a young family literally pulled me into their home and told me that I was to eat supper with them -- consoling, with comfort food. This family expressed horror and sadness at the events seen on their TV. After spending time with them, I left and entered the courtyard I share with my neighbours, and Nadia called out to ask me to come up for tea and cakes. Then, when I went up to the roof to bring down my laundry, my landlady stopped me and asked if I would want to see the CNN news. Inside, she served me juice. This was the way the Christian Palestinians compassionately reached out. It is hoped that the TV news throughout the world showed the candlelight vigil held at the Damascus Gate Friday night. Many Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, as well as internationals, participated in that vigil and walked from the Damascus Gate to the American Consulate to pray for the American people during this time of sorrow. There at the Consulate they added their candles, flowers and signs, expressing their grief and solidarity with Americans in their suffering. Such expressions of condolence had already begun last Tuesday as members of the Palestinian community came to pay their respects in front of the Consulate. On Sunday many Christian Palestinian communities, especially here in Jerusalem, celebrated liturgies for the American people. Christian communities throughout the West Bank have surely done the same. I personally received many e-mails from Palestinian friends and I would like to share with you the closing of a message from Elias: "Our hearts go out to every person harmed in any way. To the killed, their families, to those working to bring calm and resolution to all this pain and sorrow. We send love and concern for all of our friends and for all affected by this tragic happening. May God bless all of you." Sr Mary is an Ursuline nun working in Jerusalem

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