Pilgrimage to Bethlehem

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As a group of pilgrims from Holland, visiting Bethlehem in the week before and during Christmas, we were honored to be received by the Arab Educational Institute.

 

Our aim was to speak to Palestinians and Israeli’s about the occupation and the possibilities for change. Also, we wanted to show our solidarity with the Palestinians living in difficult circumstances under the Israeli occupation.

During our visit, we stayed at Palestinian hosting families. This allowed us to get to know the openheartedness and hospitality of the inhabitants of Bethlehem. Also, we heard the stories of these families, about the limitation to their freedom and their suffering due to the occupation. It was hard for us to hear those stories and to realize how privileged we are as Dutch civilians.

This only expanded our admiration for all those people who are working towards peace and justice in a non-violent way. It is moving to see how people on both sides, striving for peace, keep on hoping and working towards a better future. The work of the Arab Educational Institute is an example of such perseverance. It is impressive that the AEI brings creativity back in the surroundings of the Wall through the SUMUD Story House.

It was very special for us to be in Bethlehem during Christmas. It is great to see that Bethlehem is celebrating and vibrating during this festive time, although life is not easy.

We share the hope that was spoken out by the people in Bethlehem for just peace and a life of freedom and equality.

You can also take a look at some photos at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/kerstinbethlehem/KerstInBethlehem

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