This is a story about a village in Palestine. Children play and make friends there. But they live in a hard situation. The churches in Jerusalem invite people from around the world to come and see what is happening. Patricia, who wrote this story, is one of those people. For three months she lived with Palestinians and Israelis who are working for peace.
Susiya is a small village in Palestine. The Palestinian people don’t have control of their own country. This situation is called a “military occupation.” In this small village, the Israeli army told the people to leave. They were going to tear down their homes and use their land for themselves. But the people don’t want to leave. They love their homes. They love their families and their animals. They love the land and their community. This place is their home. Where else would they go?
During this difficult situation, the children try to go about their daily lives. They are just like children anywhere. The other observers and I arrive just as school finishes for the summer. Remember how that feels? Getting up and out first thing in the morning. Meeting up with friends. Going in and out of each other’s homes? The children play school, marbles, and games. They play little sally saucer and statue. They fill water balloons and watch out!
We watch the children play. We watch them push and pull, cry and laugh. There is a lot of love in this close community. A special moment for me is playing rock-a-bye baby. All of the children want a turn being rocked. Even the older ones, who have trouble fitting on my lap! Then I teach them to dance to “Rock Around the Clock.” And they teach me to dance to an Arabic song!
Every child needs a safe place to live and grow up. The children of Susiya and many other villages in Palestine need to have courage. As long as this conflict goes on, they will live with the very real fear of losing their homes.
We hear the love and courage of the people in Susiya who want to keep their village and the story of children who live with the fear of losing their homes. Are we ready to love? Are we ready to step up and help the people of Palestine and Israel? I wonder what love is calling forth from us?
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