05 October 2007

Everyone 'neath their vine and fig tree...

Christina talks with the Israeli soldiers
For more photos click here.

I've had this song running through my head all day-- "And everyone 'neath their vine and fig tree, shall live in peace and unafraid. And into plowshares turn their swords, nations shall learn war no more." It's a catchy tune, but I really don't mind having it with me. Here in this land of vines, fig, olive, and date trees, nations still learn war and practice it daily on each other.

This morning we went to the town of Um Salamonah to join a group of Palestinians protesting the separation wall. On the neighboring hill, the Israeli settlement of Efrat looms, despite being in the West Bank, supposedly Palestinian territory. Now that the settlement has claimed the hill, they are annexing a large part of the Palestinian town's fields. A new road snakes between the two hills on which the separation wall will soon be built, cutting off Um Salamonah from some of their fields.

A group of about 50 people gathered, including both Palestinian and Israeli activists and members of various international groups such as Christian Peacemaker Teams, Michigan Peace Teams and the International Solidarity Movement. We walked down the hill from Um Salamonah, across the new road, and up the hill toward the Efrat settlement. Nearly a dozen soldiers met us partway up the hill, and another dozen soon joined them. We stayed only a short time to listen to a few speakers talk about the illegal land grab. Christina Gibb, member of CPT Palestine, attempted to give one of the soldiers a quote by Dr. King about the descending spiral of violence, which she took, but another soldier took it from her hand immediately and attempted to give it back. Christina was already on her way back down the hill by then.

These days, Palestinians can't sit under their own vine and fig tree-- Israeli settlements have occupied them.


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