Jerusalem April 9, 2017
Peace and all good.
This week was plagued by brutal violence. The world seems increasingly sinking into a quagmire of violence and counter-violence. But I do not want to dwell on. I am happy also to meet good things.
Wednesday I met friends from the Netherlands. The couple visits regularly in the Holy Land. Their daughter is married to an Israeli and they give courses about how to realize reconciliation. They belong to the Quakers, or the Religious Society of Friends, which has Christian roots. See: Quakers
One approach to reconciliation is repeating a mantra: I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you. This encourages an attitude that can make reconciliation possible. It makes you humble and doesn’t give the other person’s fault, but you first learn to look at yourself: What is my share of a conflict and how can I contribute to reconciliation? How does this mantra see: (Take your time.)
They told from an Uruguayan psychiatrist who managed to change the atmosphere in a prison with violent criminals in a few months’ time.
The next day I went out with a fellow brother to Ein Karem, situated on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, it was not possible to have a good talk with him because of his health. I found it soothing quiet with a view of nature that I miss in Jerusalem.
After that, I visited my friends in Ramallah, who will have an appointment with my Dutch friends this week. It was a great visit. I heard something nice. It turned out that their eldest son of 15 years old, Nizar, once felt much supported by me when I embraced him as a child because he was bullied at school without intervention by a teacher. Also, later on, he felt respected by me, when I came to visit. Now it is remarkable that he has a friend of 14 who is in trouble. He had recently quarrelled with other guys and said something nasty about Allah (if this is true, at least), by which he was expelled from school and in other schools in Ramallah he is not welcome. An additional factor is that his parents are divorced, by which he was excluded from the society. Nizar does not care about this. He knows what it means to be bullied and excluded. He is now a support for his friend. This example shows how important it is to respect children and to take them seriously. It also has a snowball effect. It is my assumption that yesterday we were children and that the children of today will be tomorrow’s adults. In this way you promote peace.
In retrospect, I was shocked by the latest problem. Last summer a man has attacked Israeli soldiers with a screwdriver and then shot dead. Actually, he wanted to divorce his wife and his wife agreed, but the woman’s family prevented this. It would have meant that their children would be excluded from society. In this way he got it. By becoming martyr their children are respected now.
The youngest son of my friends in Ramallah Hamza is excellent, much better than a year ago. Remarkably, I found that their daughter Yasmin does not like Arabic. She prefers to speak English, she’s only seven years.
In the evening we went out because Thursday is for Muslims like for us in the West Saturday. Where we went to, we met friends of them who have three children too. The oldest is a nice lad of nearly 14, called Adam.
When I went back the next day to Jerusalem, I was able to experience how it is going on Friday. Sparsely Palestinians could cross the Qalandia checkpoint. When I finally could walk through to check, I saw and heard how a soldier behind glass snarled to a woman with a baby on her arm. Why was not clear to me. I spent a few hours in the checkpoint before I could continue to go home.
Last week I read another problem of the occupation. The settlements have also football clubs. Are these clubs recognized by FIFA or not?
Yesterday began our community the Holy Week with a celebration in Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, where according to tradition Jesus began the journey on a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We went there by a bus to go, but the bus arrived fifteen minutes late because of delays on the way, though it was Sabbath. The streets in East Jerusalem are narrow, not made for buses and trucks.
I saw a picture of Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram. See:
As attachments, I add further: a message of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli jails; two reports of a conflict between Twitter and the US government; a message on a metal barrier between Israel and Jordan; article about Israeli responsibility regarding international law.
Greetings from Jerusalem, Louis
1 Most Palestinian Minors Arrested by Israel Claim Physical Violence During Detention
2 Responsibility Regarding Israel in International Law
3 the Large Metal Barrier That Protects 30 Kilometers of the Israeli-Jordanian Border
4 THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO UNMASK AN ANONYMOUS ANTI-TRUMP TWITTER ACCOUNT.docx
5 Twitter Klaagt Regering vs Aan Over Vrije Meningsuiting
About Louis Bohte
president Commission JPIC of the Custody in the Holy Land at franciscans
excerpt of an interview by Thore Schroeder published 31.12.10 in HAARETZ.com
“By the time I was twelve I knew I wanted to become a Franciscan”, Louis Bohte recalls. But the friar, now 64, would never have thought he would one day be the manager of an 18-year-old Palestinian rapper in Bethlehem.
Looking after the career of hip hop artist Hajj MC has become an important part of his life. “For me it is a surprise to be on this road if you think about my age and my status,” says the monk who was born in Amsterdam. He grew up in a family of ten children that was strongly influenced by the father’s Catholic faith. “Although I was always critical I never rebelled.”