Giving 1 Percent of Jesus to Somalia

Published in the Huffington Post

A deep pain grabbed my heart when I saw the television news ticker: “30,000 children died in Somalia in the last three months.” A major cause of my pain came from a personal feeling of guilt and shame when I realized how fortunate my family is.

This week, our third daughter, who was born prematurely, came home after spending her first month of life in the hospital. From the moment she was born she received the highest level of care available here in Bethlehem. A group of expert Palestinian doctors monitored her progress every hour using the latest technology. There were multiple staff members attending to her care with beeps, rings and dings coming from every machine around her crib. Insurance was not a problem and covered 90 percent of the costs related to her long stay in the hospital. I could not have asked or prayed for anything better. However, my joy is overshadowed with pain knowing that 30,000 Somali children perished. Sorrow grips me knowing that hundreds of thousands of children across the world do not survive their first month because of a $2 vaccine that was not provided for their mothers.

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Palestinian Nonviolence: Muslims, Not Christians, Are the Leaders

Huffington Post

Whenever I give talks on the effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian livelihood, the status of nonviolence as a means to resisting the occupation, and how I believe nonviolence is the only way to move forward to resolve the conflict and create a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, one of the first and immediate questions I get from foreign visitors to my office in Bethlehem is, “What you said is good, but what about the Muslims? Do they also believe in nonviolence? Do they understand it?” Even if I don’t mention religion in my presentation — and I rarely do — this question always seems to make its way in our discussions.

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WWJD? A Nonviolent Conflict Resolution for Palestine

Published in the Huffington Post June 2, 2011

How could a person living under military occupation, experiencing first-hand suffering and humiliation, even think about loving the enemy, let alone urge family, friends and neighbors to do the same? This challenging message came from a young rabbi named Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”

Of course, Jesus could have suggested we make peace with our enemies or negotiate peace agreements or peacefully resolve conflict; those statements would have been as shocking to the suffering Jews of that time. Instead, he entreated them to go further: to “love” them. This was the word he chose — a command to all those who seek to follow him.

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