Christmas in Jewish settlements and Hebron, O Jerusalem

The wall between Palestinian and Jewish settlements is a reminder of how far away peace is in the region.

A soldier explains some of the history of the Cave of the Patriarch as a religious family emerges from prayer.

We spent the day today with Nimrod, Rami and Shira’s adopted son, an Israeli army veteran and one of the world’s top unicyclists.

Nimrod took us to meet Amir, his wife Massuah (I am not sure about the spelling) and their three boys in one of the many Jewish settlements outside of Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

We also drove to Hebron, site of the murder of 29 Muslims by Baruch Goldstein in 1994.  The Jewish and Palestinian settlements, which are separated by barbed wire and a wall in many places, are both nearer the road and more intertwined in Hebron than in other places.

While at Hebron, we visited the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Sarah and Rivka, among others, are buried.

Life was quiet today in Hebron and in Jerusalem, but it was not nearly so peaceful 62 years ago today, when fighting broke out to contest ownership of Jerusalem and the state of Israel as a whole.

That war went to the Israelis, and, unfortunately, the wars have continued since then.  Israelis we’ve met have talked about the need to defend what is theirs, especially in the face of a series of hostile nations that surround them and a number of whom are committed to their being driven into the sea.  On the other hand, the Palestinians talk about the oppression they’ve experienced at the hands of the Israelis, and see the settlers as land grabbers making a play for de facto for possession being the basis for continued  ownership.

It’s hard to see a way out soon, and meeting some of the settlers and reading Collins and LaPierre’s O Jerusalem helps me understand a bit better the passionate fervor and historic basis for the conflict that thus far has eluded resolution.

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