Day 1: Bethlehem

This update is a part of the blog from our trip to Palestine. Click here for more updates.

Our first day in Palestine has been filled with new faces, new names, and new experiences. After some icebreaking exercises we attended a lecture on the current geopolitical situation in Palestine and how the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) mobilize youths to end the occupation. How to end an occupation, you ask? By mobilizing the young generation, here and abroad, to put pressure on their government so that Israel can be held accountable for its human rights violations. The Olive Tree Campaign is another example of how JAI works. Olive trees are very important for Palestinians, not just because of their economic value, but also because they are incarnations of the concept of belonging. The roots are deep and they have lived many generations. Taking care of an olive tree is both a duty and a privilege. The Israeli colonists (settlers) know this, and the trees close to these new colonies are not safe. This is why JAI plants trees with the support from international sponsors – who are notified if “their” tree is harmed. Accountability and visibility of injustice!

In the afternoon we went to Bethlehem to visit the Church of Nativity. The Church is built on top of the cave where Jesus was born. Or, as our guide put it with much confidence: “If you ask me as a guide, I am 99% sure that this is where he actually was born. If you ask me as a Christian, I’m 100% certain!”

This introduction day has been very interesting, and are summarised in these words from our guide:

Jesus was born under occupation, and 2000 years later the people of these lands are still suppressed. Jesus was the first revolutionist in Palestine, and now we must follow his lead!

Stay tuned for mor updates from the Holy Land!