People always say that a trip to Israel will change your life, and it most certainly has. It’s true that I feel more connected to God and what Jesus did for us in his life and death. That parts of the bible will be more relevant and church will have more meaning. But the trip I took to Israel was way more involved and much different then most have or ever will take. And because of what I have seen and personally experienced, I have been very emotional. All things that are inhumane has just brought me to tears since my return home. It has given me more compassion & empathy. My eyes have certainly been opened wider and my heart has grown much larger.
I went on a 10 day geo-political tour with a group from church to Israel, mostly in Palestine. Not only to see the holy sites & where Jesus walked and died, but also to spend time on a daily basis with people, organizations, refugees, children’s schools and colleges from the Palestinian side learning their story of the Israeli Occupation upon their home land. We also were welcomed into a Jewish home for discussion (of which didn’t warm my heart) and met with a Jewish man who is also in agreement that the occupation is a horrible thing and is doing what he can to change that.
Our tour guide who was a Palestinian (driver was Christian) was very knowledegable on the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Holy Sites and all the tensions that exist between all these parties who live in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. His knowledge far surpassed anything that any of us were expecting and truly educated us beyond our comprehension.
Having come back many people want to know more about the trip and being that here is so much to tell of our experience, it is just easier to blog it out.
Forewarning: This will be a long and depressing post, but I hope you will take time to read it all. I also apologize that it goes all over the place. I am still trying to make sense of and process it all in my mind. With all the, “this is my land and not yours”.. “we were here first” and everything involved in this conflict, I am not sure there is any sense that can be made, as none of it makes any. Here is a short animation video to help you with the history and occupation of Palestine.
It is very important that if you support Israel, you understand what you are supporting. Educate yourself before you continue to support Israel because your church or political party does or says you should. If you haven’t seen it first hand, as I have, you have no right to argue for the support of Israel. You have not one iota of knowledge in what you are supporting.
Before we left for Israel, I was perhaps like you. I was a full supporter of Israel. And now that I have been educated and have seen first hand what is going on over there, I ask myself why. Why did I, why do we blindly support Israel? Because the media, our government and politicians indoctrinate us into believing that we should. What is fed to us by them and the media has turned it all around in favor of Israel and ensures that the Palestinians are made out to be the terrorist’s.
Once I returned home, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps I was indoctrinated by our Palestinian and Muslim tour guide to believe that Israel was the bad guy. But having met with those in the Jewish home, who to be honest were quite arrogant and hateful, and the Jewish man who has seen the horrors and is doing what he can for peace and freedom for the Palestinians, I know this not to be true. There is no reason that any government should harass and oppress people as the Israeli Jewish government does.
I am sure that most Christians/Evangelicals/Fundamentalists believe that this land was given to the Jews by God. I don’t really believe these are the Jews that were promised this land, but even if they were; Jesus told us that to love others comes first and foremost and this is what honors & pleases God. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is not only horrifying but I am sure it makes God very angry. Everything they do, they believe is for God first. Treating people respectfully comes later and actually doesn’t come at all. But since they don’t believe in Jesus, why would they care what he has to say about loving others or treating others with full respect and love first. This is how they justify taking over land that they believe God gave them and have no qualms getting that land at the cost of others lives.
Here is a good read on the promise of God to the Jews as the chosen people of the Old Testament and the Christians (also known as Disciples) in the New Testament.
Please know that when I use the word Jews, I do not mean all Jewish people. I am mainly speaking of the right wing and extremist Jews that run and are in support of the Jewish Israeli government and the occupation of Palestinians. I don’t want to sound like I am placing my hatred or anger on one group of people, because this is not my intention whatsoever. I do understand the Jewish people are scared and they have a right to be. Everyone around them wants to obliterate them from the face of the earth. But my honest feeling is they kind of placed themselves in that spot by claiming and overtaking Israel the way they have, and in the name of God. Who by the way.. everyone around them believes in that same God. Which is another tension all in itself. Your basically telling all those who believe in God that he loves us, “The Jews” and hates you… Hmmm. sounds like Christians and homosexuals… an argument that will never be won.
The United Nations gave the Jews a portion of the land and a real two state solution years ago. Of course the Jews liked the deal, however the Palestinians didn’t so they started a war. I am not going to argue one side over the other, as both are to blame here. The Palestinians should have just accepted the deal, and the Jews shouldn’t have started or continued to build on what was supposed to be the Palestinians land. They have been building on this land illegally and harshly throwing Palestinians out of their homes and bulldozing their properties so they can no longer build. Had the Jews just kept to the land that was given to them (which by the way, there is a lot of empty land they could build on, on the Jewish side) perhaps today, there would be some peace. I took picture after picture of empty hills and land the jews could build on.
There are many Jewish people who have taken the time to see for themselves what is going on, have since changed their stance, and are in full support of trying to bring peace and full freedom for all and are doing good works to try and change what is going on. Unfortunately, most of those in Israel, like we do in America, get busy with our easy and wonderful lives and forget what is going on with the other side. Many are taught that there is nothing wrong going on in their very own backyard.
The media has spun the stories so far that we are led to believe the Jews are on the peaceful and loving side of all things and the Palestinians are nothing but Muslim terrorists. Quite honestly, from what I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears, it is the exact opposite. I truly wanted to believe that America wasn’t full of propaganda like other countries, but I now know this to be true. We always see the media videos of the Palestinian kids throwing rocks at Jews and their cars, but they never show the Jewish kids or people throwing rock at Palestinians or beating them down for nothing other then they want to. They never show Israeli Military harassing innocent children, arresting them, killing them and putting them in prison. No Christian should ever condone this kind of behavior.
I was so angry by what I was seeing, that hatred in my heart started to grow very large & fast.I can see how easy it would be to lose your mind and blow a gasket, building up day after day and year after year of being treated so horribly that the only way out was to kill as many Jewish people as possible, or to take your own life in a suicide bombing.
Before I get to intense at all the atrocities and horrors that I saw, I need to take a few to note all the beautiful things I saw. Children playing and dancing in the dirt and filth of the streets, schools and refugee camps as if nothing was wrong. Entire families from age 10ish up to Senior Citizen working together to make their family business a success. No homelessness. There are no homeless people in Palestine. All are taken in by family or neighbors and welcomed into their home to be fed and to live.
Each family, even after married lives in the same space. They simply add another floor to the current home and each family lives separately, but still together… Often these can go four or five stories high. The families build them themselves, and often you will see homes in various stages of being built. Often these homes will have rebar and wires sticking out of the tops of the roofs. This is so they can add another story to the home when the next member of the family is married and ready to move out. These homes will take them years to build, as they will only add when they can afford it.. Perhaps they can only afford to add a few bricks a month, or a window… they just build as they can pay for it.. They don’t take out loans or mortgage their homes… everything is built using cash.
People would often invite us in for a drink or dinner to eat with them or offer us a snack. All I heard is we want peace. And all I saw was warmth and love. Obviously they hate what is being done to them, but they don’t seem to hold on to hatred for the Israelis. I guess they have just learned really well how to live one moment and one day at a time. To enjoy the little things and cherish each moment of joy. We could learn some huge lessons from the Palestinians.
The first thing you notice when you enter the West Bank, which is the main place of contention here, you notice the 25 foot wall with watch towers. Checkpoints mainly run by kids 18-mid 20’s with military weapons, that the United States paid for, surrounding the West Bank. They harass and make it very difficult for any Palestinians inside the west bank to go beyond those walls. The Palestinians have used the walls that hold them in and created political and non-political artwork on these walls. There is not much of landscaping in these parts as they are not given the water, but they do try to take bits of trash and make them treasures.
We witnessed the checkpoints first hand when we left the West Bank and tried to enter the town of Nazareth. We reached the check point and our van was directed to pull of into another side portion of the checkpoint. We were all told to get out of the van with our passports. We stood there for 10 minutes as these arrogant punk kids armed with large military weapons looked thru our passports and talked to our Palestinian guide. One by one, they called our names, compared us to our passport picture and let us back on the bus. We all played it off as being okay, remained calm and tried to make funnies during the process. We thought all was good and that we would be on our way. Then our tour guide was guided by two of these punks into a building. He was gone for 30 minutes only to return and tell us to go on without him. He was told that he couldn’t cross with us. They made him walk back across the border to wait there until 6:30 which was 2 hours away, and they would allow him to cross then. Just another tactic to profile a certain race; to intimidate and harass. We were later told that he made a guard walk behind him, as these kids are allowed to shoot at will and he wanted to ensure that he wouldn’t be shot in the back as he was walking away. We were also told that often they make this promise of we will let you thru at 6:30 only to shut down the checkpoint and not let the Palestinian thru as they were promised.
These 25 foot walls make mysterious turns and directions. They block the Palestinians from their own farm land, from using freeways and we even saw a section that went as far to surround a church and parking lot that is used by the Jews.
Speaking of access to roads. The Jews (mainly American Jews that are called Settlers) have built huge illegal settlements (according to the U.N.) within the West Bank which of course means they need to make new roads to access them. Israel is all hills, and the best place to build a large settlement is on top of the hills. Video of Settlements explained. They have strategically placed these on tops of the hills to cut off, split and force Palestinians from their homes. They have also made roads that Palestinians are not allowed to use, so the Jews have created access roads that the Palestinians may use. Most of these roads are systematically created to make the Palestinians go miles out of their way to get to where they need to go. The Jews are also known to randomly close access on any given day just to harass and force the Palestinians to find an even longer way around to get where they are going. They also place checkpoints on these roads for Palestinians to have to go thru, again, manned by kids just out of high school. Keep in mind, this is the West Bank, where the Palestinians live and lived there first for hundreds upon hundreds of years. The Jews have also bulldozed thousand upon thousands of Olive trees which produce much of the money for the Palestinian farmers.. Not sure how this is a security issue for the Jews, but everything they do is done due to a security concern.
We met a family who has owned their home and farm land (Tent of Nations) for 800 years. One morning within the last few years, they woke up to find that the road used to access their home and farm had been closed by the Jews. Giant boulders bulldozed on and across the road. We saw this firsthand. (picture on left is us walking on that road to get to the families home for a visit with them) Jews have come during the nights and torn up thousands of the farmers fruit trees. But they fight back and somehow find the money to replant even more. Every single thing this family wishes to do on their own land, needs to have a permit. The Jews have done this to make it very difficult and of course, most often, they don’t give them the permit. I can’t tell you all the atrocities that the Jews have done to this family, but you can read their story here. They told us that in July, the Jews have told them that they plan to bulldoze their property. They continually make this family go to court over and over and over to prove that they are the owners of the property. They have to fight for a property that has been theirs for hundreds of years, but the Jews seem to think it is owed to them and are okay with just bulldozing this property while the family lives there. How is it that Jews from America and Europe can keep claiming this land as theirs?
The Jews do this every day and have done it to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with not one care in the world. The Jews don’t give a shit. We even met with some Jewish settlers and their arrogance was well apparent with the first breath and statement they made to us. These Jews move to the West Bank, because our government (your money) along with the Israeli government tells them that they can move here tax free. the government will pay most of their costs to move here and to live here and these settlements are supplied with plenty of water and surrounded by electric security fences. This is not how it is for the Palestinians.
The walls that the Jews built cut off major water supplies and the Jews now have control of that as well. The Jews allow the Palestinians access to water only one day out of 20. Because of this, the Palestinians have had to place larger water barrels on their roofs (as seen in pictures) so on that one day, they can fill those barrels to have water for the 20 days that they are cut off. And should they run out of water in that period.. It’s a who gives a shit from the Jews. And let’s not forget.. the Palestinians pay double/triple what the Jews pay for their piped in water, taxes, electricity, on and on.
The hills of the West bank are very dry; yet because the Jews pipe in their water, the minute you enter a Jewish settlement, you notice green plants and flowers everywhere. You feel as if you are back in America. Since these Jewish settlers are mostly Americans everything looks very different from most of Palestine. The homes look american, the furnishings, the playgrounds, the schools for their children and the green grass in their yards and public areas. None of which you will see in the Palestinian communities. They have no parks or pools and lucky if they have a decent community center for people & kids to engage or play.
Trash… another huge issue. Palestinians don’t have trash pick up like the Jewish people do. They have made it so expensive for the Palestinians that they can’t afford it, so where does it go? It is everywhere… and huge piles of it. Wherever it can be dumped, which is most often on the sides of their homes and in their backyards. Whatever can be burned is. So unhealthy, dangerous and unsanitary. Sewage while running thru pipes for the Jewish settlers, Palestine is all on septic. Some areas, the sewage just runs down into a river of muck. Most public bathrooms we used didn’t even have the water on to flush, and if they did, you are not allowed to throw toilet paper in them. The toilet paper goes in the trash bin next to the toilet or sink..
Our first day in the West Bank, we visited the city of Hebron. This is a city in large contention. Why? Hebron is mainly Christian. We believe that Abraham of the Old Testament is the father of all nations. So do the Jews and Muslims and Abraham is buried in Hebron. Because of this, the Christians, the Muslims and the Jews believe they have the exclusive rights to this land. Stupid and ridiculous? You bet it is. But again, the Jews are in control and like to oppress, so they use their authority to go into towns to randomly and without notice close streets and bustling markets with fencing, barbed wire and armed guards. The metal doors on all the shops are welded shut with all the store owners belongings inside. Often the owners live above their shops and since the streets are cut off, they no longer have access to their homes, thereby being forced out of their homes overnight, with nowhere to go. Occasionally they can access their homes thru windows or roofs so they will enter their homes this way, and sometimes having to go thru a neighbors home to access theirs. They are not given any time to go in and get their belongings from their homes or their stores. The Jews now claim it all as their own.
These streets can remain unused for years and become literal ghost towns (see pics). These street closures also cut them off from schools, hospitals, cemeteries, etc… etc… Often, if a Palestinian needs emergency medical help they cannot get it, and if they do, because of the few roads given to them for access the medical help could take too long. Believe it or not, most of the time they are expected to get a permit or permission from the Israeli’s to get the emergency help and to be allowed to be taken to a major hospital. The blatant hatred and insanity is just too much to believe in this place.
I am sure you have heard of the one state or two state deal. The Jews claim that the Palestinians won’t even come to the table to discuss this. When you learn what a two state deal really means, you would fully understand why. The two state deal, doesn’t mean that the Jews get all of one portion, and the Palestinians all get another portion. This is far from what the truth is, and I can’t blame the Palestinians for telling the Jews to go fuck themselves. They have split the West Bank into Areas A, B & C.. for more info This woman has done a pretty good job at putting it into perspective visit her website. If you look at the the maps on this website you will see the continual take over by the Jews. Enlarge the map and you will see the blue sections are the Jewish Settlements. Notice how they are strategically placed, so as to grow larger and to cut off the Palestinian neighborhoods from each other. They are also built on the tops of the hills as to show dominance. (They are very large and quite ugly). Eventually to make the Palestinian sections smaller and smaller as they have been doing for decades. The large Jewish settlements take up much of Palestine and leave just small holes of land for the Palestinians. The Palestinians call it the Swiss Cheese… The Jews get most of the land, leaving only the holes for the Palestinians. This is a far cry from the two state deal that was offered in the beginning. There is no way you can make any portion of this land a state, unless the Jewish Settlers are willing to let go of their clear hatred, stop living in fear and their, “we are always the victim” mentality, and live together in peace. Personally, I think all these American Jews who have taken over the West Bank should be told to leave and go back home, although I don’t want them back here either. Showing a bit of anger here, but I haven’t met many Jews who aren’t arrogant, hate everyone and literally believe that they are God greatest treasures.
The ways they force the Palestinians out of their homes is mind blowing. From just blatantly kicking them out or not allowing them to move into a neighborhood, because they don’t fit the social status. They can do this by a process such as our Homeowner associations in the United States. Although here in the states we are not allowed to disallow anyone to live in a neighborhood.
We also visited a Bedouin community. These are families who totally live off the land and have been for hundreds of years. They are a total community helping each other as a need or emergency comes about. They are the poorest of the poor. The conditions in which they live due to the Jewish Settlers is unexplainable. The Settlers will build their settlements on the hills above these Bedouin communities and because they don’t like the look of their shacks in their view, will offer these Bedouin families new land, which most Israeli’s see as very generous. However, what isn’t told, is that the land they are being offered, doesn’t offer water resources, isn’t the kind of land that can be farmed and provides no space for their farm animals which would usually be killed by the Jews just for spite anyhow. The Bedouin’s we visited have had their homes and land bulldozed by the Jews dozens of times, but they just stay and rebuild. Refusing to be forced out. Examples of Bedouin Harassment: Story 1 Story 2 Story 3 Story 4
The Jews have even gone as far as to kick Palestinians out of whole towns that contain land that is very rich with agricultural land and fertile soil, and to prevent the Palestinians from ever wanting to come back or to ever to be able to use this land again, has planted pine trees in the soil that are not native to Israel. Why? These pine trees are destructive to the soil making it unusable for future use. Detestable and what an abomination. We have driven by these communities and so many pine trees had been planted that you would think it was natural forest that had grown there.
Speaking of whole towns being closed. You may have heard about the recent attack in Tel Aviv by two armed Palestinians. In most countries, you punish solely the individuals responsible, but no in Israel. In Israel, they punish the entire town. They kicked the entire town of where these two gunmen lived, out of their homes. This is what they do. They claim it is for security reasons. They look for any opportunity to take over land. They kicked these people out, most likely not allowing them to take anything with them. They they will put up barriers and barbed wire, surround and arm the town with military soldiers, so the Palestinians can’t come back. It will most likely become a ghost town for years, and then the Jews will swoop in and use this land as their own. Update as of 6.13.2016 Who knows what easing means in their eyes. Here’s a video of these punk little kids just fresh out of high school with their big guns. Makes me sick!
Israel calls themselves progressives, yet even marrying someone whom is not your same religion is illegal. Gay marriage? forget it. If you are not a Jew or are not born in Israel, you are not allowed to become a citizen. some are able, but they make it very difficult. Doesn’t sound very progressive to me. Can’t be progressive if your forcing occupation on others and keeping them walled up like caged animals….
Upon our leaving Israel you must know, that if you are with a group, they will make you enter as a group. They will stop you as they did us, remove two or three people from the group, and they will interrogate you to ensure that your answers all match. You should be honest, but never give up any extra info that they haven’t asked for. They may search your luggage. One of those in our group was made to open his bag and security found a book regarding the Occupation. This made them very unhappy. Because of this, The head of our group was sent to one security person after another, until she eventually was talking to the head dick of security. We were there for a good 30 minutes or more while they hassled her. Another tactic of theirs. One member of our group got so perplexed and nervous as would anyone, that more info was given then probably should have, but I think any of us would have done the same. It’s that sinking feeling of knowing you have done nothing wrong, but for some reason feel frightened, as you do when a cop pulls you over on the road.
*Books cannot be downloaded, shipped or brought into the Palestinian communities.
*Internet and cell phones are watched and each person is given a unique code to track them. Hmmmm. Kind of sounds like the mark given to each Jew in the Holocaust.
*Youtube videos are often taken down or re-uploaded with the story often changed in the favor of the Jews.
*Palestinians lose $10 billion dollars a year due to the occupation.
* Israel terms Palestine cities as villages instead of Cities, because cities get larger budgets. They want as little money going to Palestinians as possible.
*E-Waste is dumped near water resources.
*Palestinian children are made to burn wire to get out the copper, causing the spread of cancer.
*Religious Jews don’t work. Palestinians are charged higher water and utility rates and taxes to pay for these Jews to live. The Jews feel it is more important for them to pray all day then it is for them to work.
Let me make it clear that I can kind of understand why the Jews would like their own state. They have been persecuted since the beginning of time, and wish to have a place they can stay safe perhaps. But they are living in a victim status and this never works. They are creating the very persecution on others that was presented upon them in World War II and in doing so, are causing even more hatred towards them from far more people then before.
There has never been a state based on just religion itself and there never should be. If after reading all this and you still believe you should support Israel… then I urge you to go see it for yourself and take a tour meant that wil show you first hand the injustices.
If you are Christian and can still support this kind of behavior of killing, binding up innocent children and terrorizing people.. I suggest you pray and search your heart with God. I dare say… you are not a true Christian. Jesus would never condone this. He may have in the Old Testament, but he sent Jesus to give us a new message, and that was to love others always. I am trying my hardest to still love those in Israel and Jews in general, but the more I read, the harder it is. I pray that they can see their errors and they are in effect creating their own genocide by their actions to those who surround them.
Until you visit and see for yourself.. Please don’t argue with me that somehow you feel that what you have heard is right, and I am wrong. I have been there..
Things to ponder: Facts you should know
Companies to boycott Israel Andrew Cuomo (New York Governor) and many democrats are trying to put into legislation the right to punish you a U.S. Citizen for boycotting any products that support Israel. This includes your wonderful Presidential elect Hillary “Liar” Clinton. Money and power sure do make for complete morons in this world.
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