Olive wood hearts from Palestine to Washington – A Letter to Congress members

Olive wood hearts from Palestine to Washington – A Letter to Congress members

[The following letter is addressed to members of Congress, from Palestinian and US-based Christian organizations, agencies, and churches. It is being delivered to Congressional offices on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024 – Ash Wednesday and Valentines Day – and is accompanied by a postcard including the following background:

This olivewood heart was sourced and crafted by artisans in Bethlehem, Palestine.
It represents one life, one beating heart stopped among the nearly 12,000 Palestinian children killed in Gaza. 
This wooden heart was blessed in an ecumenical prayer service in Bethlehem in December and now has been sent to Washington, D.C. as an urgent call to action.]

Dear Honorable Member of the United States Congress,

We write to draw your attention to a deeply symbolic gesture from a recent church service in Bethlehem. Each heart displayed there represented a child tragically lost in the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine since October 7th. Each of these hearts – including the one in your hand – is a poignant reminder of the innocent lives caught in conflicts they are too young to comprehend.

In light of this, we urge you to raise your voice for peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land. True peace can only be achieved through the pursuit of justice for all parties involved. As you deliberate on matters related to Israel and Palestine, we ask you to remember these hearts, each symbolizing the life of a Palestinian or Israeli child.

We kindly request that you take this heart with you to Congress. Let it serve as a visible reminder of the urgent need for peace during your discussions and decision-making processes.

More war and weapons will not bring peace or security. In the face of growing violence, we urge you to:

  • Publicly call for a ceasefire, de-escalation, and respect for international law.
  • Ensure the uninhibited delivery of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Gaza.
  • Protect lives—those of the hostages and all civilians, including the roughly one million children who live in Gaza.
  • Prohibit the transfer of arms and military assistance to all warring parties, including Israel, Hamas, and other armed groups.
  • Address the root causes underlying this explosion of violence, including ending decades of institutionalized oppression and collective punishment of Palestinians through brutal military occupation, settler violence, and a 16-year Gaza blockade.

Your leadership and voice in this matter can make a significant difference. Thank you for considering this heartfelt plea for peace and justice.


Kairos Palestine
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Jerusalem)
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ