I attended my first meeting of Kumi Now on 14.09.2021 because the World Week of Peace for Israel and Palestine is coming up on Saturday 18th September – 25th September and I wanted to learn more.
The main speaker was Zoughbi Alzoughbi, founder and director of Wi’am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Centre. The Wi’am Centre helps to resolve disputes within the Palestinian community providing services to women, youth, children and international diplomacy. They are involved in Sulha mediation, constructive reconciliation where their staff take on the role of mediators. After people are able to live without seeking revenge which is good for the people and the community. They are dealing with conflict around the clock and it is many kinds from issues which are financial, employment, land, domestic. There is a pressure cooker atmosphere making conflicts more likely. However, they try to solve these conflicts with a smile. With the youth they have exchange programmes, although with Covid these are now virtual. The Centre also welcomes visitors to the Holy Land giving a unique insight into the places and contemporary situations in the area. One issue is access to Rachel’s tomb which was visited by the Pope which has been annexed causing hardship to local business in the area and economic difficulties. The Palestinian community rely on family structures of support; however, The Wi’am Centre has a job creation program helping to support families suffering difficulties.
Other Points of Interest:
- International indifference is a problem
- There are more than 100,000 settlers living around Bethlehem.
- There are less than 45,000 Christians in Bethlehem.
- Unemployment in Bethlehem is more than 25%.
- 4,650 Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israeli Jails, 520 held without charge or trial.
- Covid is high with over 11,000 cases in Israel and 2,000 in Palestine and 80 deaths every day across Israel and Palestine.
- There are nightly raids next to the Refugee Camp near the centre because it is close to the wall, however tear gas containers and the bullets are collected to make into Christmas ornaments.
There are many reasons to hope and try to change the lens for the future away from violence to peace including our role considering how we can show our support for communities in need this Christmas.
Kumi Now – KUMI NOW – Together For Justice
Wi’am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Centre – Wi’am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center (alaslah.org)
The wall Museum in Bethlehem where youths can express and share their stories. – The “Wall Museum” in Bethlehem, Palestine | Facebook
The Tent of Nations a peace project located on a hundred acre farm, 6 miles from Bethlehem – Help Save 🎪Tent of Nations (salsalabs.org)
World Council of Churches – World Week for Peace in Israel and Palestine