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Hebron Tour

The best word to describe the situation in Hebron is 'stupidity.' There is no way anyone can go there and think that what the Israelis and the Israeli settlers are doing is anything but foolish. These settlers come into the main part of Hebron, they are already firmly established and have been for 30 years. Their express intent is to take over the old city of Hebron, and use whatever means necessary to do it. Not only this, but the Israeli military has to expend millions of dollars in military bases and man-power to patrol the streets of Hebron - national money is being used to protect the interests of about 400 fanatics.

We witnessed a part of the daily routine - or daily oppression - of the Palestinian people, the hatred of both sides firsthand, up close, and personal. While we were standing in the street trying to listen to an explanation by a guide from Christian Peacemaker Teams, I allowed my mind to wander and out of the corner of my eye I saw a rock land about 20 feet away from our group - a rock thrown at us from the direction of the Israeli settlement. Then a little later on as we were walking across a turn in the road a jeep with settlers passed by, and the Jewish driver said, 'anti-semites' loudly enough for us to hear. I believe that was directed toward the CPT worker with us, because CPT is protective of Palestinians. These little incidents don't sound like much, but it was very shocking to me to be the object of so much hatred, anger, and disgust, or be associated with someone who is such a target for it.

But we also felt the hatred on the other side: as we walked through the market one Palestinian man was shouting at us, 'Look what America is doing to us. We hate America!' So many times in the West Bank people have been clear to distinguish between what the American government perpetuates and what we as Americans personally feel or believe. But I felt no such discernment from this man. He was angry and his anger was directed at us. But when this is the daily bread of people, it's almost understandable - almost, but not ever and not quite.

In fact I am tired of trying to 'understand' people's extremist emotions. There is a place for that, but when an extremist is yelling at me, my response is to denounce what it is within him that encourages hate, and mourn with the 'frustrated creation' in which we live.

Today we walked on the same street that witnessed the death of numerous people only last week, we looked into the eyes of those who mourned their death and into the eyes of those who rejoiced, we saw the guns that carried out the deed, and the situation that brought it to fruition and gave it birth. Today we looked into the face of evil, into a legion of demons...and who but Christ could expel them? No one side is fully innocent, the evil is present in all hearts that allow it to enter. Satan roams free in this world, and his illnesses are present among many people on any side of any conflict.

- Dan Umbel


After tour of destroyed home

God, I pray a blessing upon the family that showed us their bombed-out house. Lord, I just stood there and wept as we sang the words, 'This is my story, this is my song: praising my saviour all the day long.' God, before me stood a man who was telling me his story and sharing his heart and through it all he was still praising you. He had such strength, courage, and hope.And I recognise that it all come from you and you alone.

Lord, he amazed me that he taught his children to love the people that had hurt them and destroyed everything. I was amazed to hear that his daughter drew a picture of an Israeli girl and a Palestinian girl holding hands. God, if only more people would feel this way. God, you know the truth even when we don't. God, please let your message of healing be brought to both of these people. Lord, I don't know what to say anymore or what to think. Lord, I feel confused and upset. Please help me to continue to find you and seek after you. Lord, bring more people who care about others like the family we visited. Please encourage them and help them to know that you are still there and still loving and caring for them. God, give ultimate wisdom and understanding to our group and especially to me.

'But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutinos, in difficulties. For when I am weak then I am strong.' -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

- Kristen McManus