Friday, June 23, 2006

Israel/Palestine Trip Part 5: Bethlehem

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem...
I do know that song...kind of. At least I know it around Christmas time, right? Well, we made it to Bethlehem. It's kind of cool how much I feel like I'm learning from being over here. Before I left, I had to sit down with a friend who had been here before and have her pretty much brief me on the last 50 or so years concerning the Israel/Palestine conflict. I didn't even know that Bethlehem is actually part of Palestine, or the West Bank, and is an occupied territory (stay tuned for more Layman's terms information about that later).
We were picked up by Basheer, the second oldest child of four to the Zoughbi family. Pastor Issa Zoughbi started House of Bread Church. It didn't take long for our families to warm up to each other, and soon all of us 'kids' were joking around and laughing a good bit.
It's amazing to think that we were less than a football field away from where Jesus was born, that we could walk to the fields where David, as a shepherd boy, tended his flock and wrote beautiful poetry and songs to the Lord. It is a shame, though, that this area is now enclosed by a 30 foot high cement wall, its inhabitants prisoners without bread in the city of bread. I got a lot of my information for my paper on the conflict from the Zoughbi family, as they were so gracious to share with me their side of the story. As we fell asleep, we could hear the rumbling sounds of Israeli tanks and jeeps patrolling the streets below. I will never forget that sound.

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