The Words of the Marsh Family

MEPI December 5, 2006

Report - Robin Marsh
December 5, 2006

On December 5th we visited Bethlehem to see the Church of Nativity and then moved to the Bethlehem Peace Centre. Later we walked through and talked with residents of the Daehashie Refugee Camp where there was a bazaar for those Palestinians who have a disability. There was a lunch with Bethlehem Christian families who told us of their daily experiences.

Following this there was a briefing by Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi who is the chair of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA). He gave an insight into the political and religious situation in Palestinian society. He spoke a great deal about the religious dimension of the conflict. We were late for this and several other meetings during the day because of queues at the check point entering and leaving Bethlehem.

Then we met Dr Emil Jarjoui in his Bethlehem office to meet with the Mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarset and the Mayor of Beit Sahour, Hani Hayiak. They expressed the difficulty of living under occupation and the problems of financial crisis. The Mayor of Beit Sahour told the group that there are now 70% below the poverty line in his municipality.

Bereaved Family Forumís (BFF) Rami Elhanan and Sheryn Musawi spoke to our group in the evening.. Rami Elhanan is Jewish while Sheryn is Palestinian. They have spoken together to each otherís community about reconciliation and preventing revenge. Rami added that the right wing Knesset members donít like the BFF because their activities break the myth that there is no one to talk to on the other side.

The participants seemed very happy with the dayís activity.

Robin Marsh
Secretary General
Universal Peace Federation - UK Middle East Peace Initiative

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