An Update from Bethlehem
Written by the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, President of the Diyar Consortium
Greetings from the little town of Bethlehem. The last few weeks were tough on us, especially on our staff and students at our Gaza training center. It was two years ago that we opened our Gaza center with the aim of training the next generation of creative leaders in Gaza.
It was difficult to see some governments backing Israel’s atrocities. Yet, it was really encouraging to see the grassroots demonstrations worldwide, the unity demonstrated by the Palestinian people (not necessarily those in power) and the resilience of our youth. We want to thank all our friends from many countries who contacted us, demonstrating their concern for our well being and support for justice.
The last two weeks gave us an opportunity to tell our story and to advocate for a paradigm shift. To best explain the prevailing situation in Palestine, people kept referring to it as a “conflict”: a conflict between two parties even if they are not equal, a conflict over land and resources, a conflict over holy places deeply connected to identity, or even a conflict between colonizer and colonized. This is the prevailing paradigm used in the media, in the academia as well as in the popular debate. This paradigm is dominant today in describing the current situation as a conflict between Israel and Hamas. Based on this assumption, the international community tries to solve the “conflict” or at least to manage it, and yet without success. Wrong assumptions led to a worsening situation and disastrous outcome that we witness these days. The framework of “conflict” is misleading to say the least. There is a dire need for a new framework. It is high time for a paradigm shift. The prevailing situation in Palestine since the Balfour Declaration is nothing but settler colonialism.
Please feel free to tune into these diverse webinars conducted by the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb: