“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.” (Psalm 24:1-2 NRSV)
This Psalm states clearly one of the major insights I had on my trip to Israel/Palestine. The land was created by God and belongs to God. The ground we all stand on is Holy Ground.
The conflict in this region is over the land and who the land really belongs to. The land is sacred to the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. My eyes, however, have been opened to the real issues. The way the Israeli government is taking over the land and controlling the movement of the Palestinians is truly unjust.
We listened and spoke to many incredible people on our pilgrimage. One of the women we spoke to was Jean Zaru. She shared with us why it is important to work for peace and justice. She pointed out that both the occupied and the occupier need liberation and that non-violent resistance is not a transfer of power from one group to another. One of the last things she said to us was, “If it is difficult to hear it, it is more difficult to live it.”
I did find that it was difficult to hear some of the stories that were shared. There was the man whose house had been demolished five times and the worst story was about a little boy who happened to be walking on a closed road and was killed. I won’t share the details here, but let’s just say it was horrific.
The bottom line really does come down to the land belonging to God. I am a child of God and this is a privilege for all people.
“For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. …there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26, 28-29)