Christmas Gifts from the Holyland

For those of us have seen Palestine, there is an irony to Christmas, this celebration of the Prince of Peace born in a land that defies that very word ‘peace”

Holy Sepluchre

with words combinations like land confiscation, separation wall, medical deprivation, malnutrition, phosphorous bombs, home demolitions. (I could also mention the poverty, crime and drug abuse festering amongst the indigenous Palestinians living in Israel as third class citizens, particularly around Jesus’ other hometown, Nazareth)

There is only gift I would want from Palestine:  the end to the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of their occupier and an end to the infighting their so-called leaders have fostered in recent years.   However, in the meantime, there is olive oil and great handicrafts, and non-profit American and international peace organizations that can mail them to you in time for Christmas.  The olive oil is produced under Fair Trade laws and is usually organic and genuinely delicious, and the Palestinian embroidery is merely beautiful.  The money made from the sale of these products goes back to helping the beleagured Palestinian farmers and artisans continue to work under very trying circumstances.

Another way to help at this time of year or any other time of year is to donate to the PCRF, a non-profit US organization that provides medical assistance to children in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon, including sending teams of volunteer doctors from around the world to conduct surgeries and provide onsite care for injured kids.   It also sells the embroidery from the women’s coop it supports.

AMERICAN FRIENDS (Olive Oil)
http://www.afsc.org/mepepla/

PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund)
http://www.pcrf.net

Walled in Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem

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