[There are many things that I scan or that cross my screen that would be grounds for condemnation both of the Israelis and the Palestinians — the killings, maimings, and constant manifestations of hatred and disrespect on both sides.  I don’t pass most of these along.  Perhaps the personal observations such as this one from a caring outsider are more pertinent, if attended to by those who are supporters of the hatred on one side or the other over there.  Needless to say, the horrors being generated in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. are more to be condemned — how many new dead and maimed today — and the brutal impact on all those children?  Ed Kent]

Subject: [cpthebron] Hebron Reflection:  Strangers in my home
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2006 05:51:01 -0400
From: cpt hebron
To: Yahoo

Reflection: Strangers in my home

by Jan Benvie

October 2006

Until last week no one had ever entered my home without my permission. I have always had the right to say no when someone came to my door. On Friday 13th October that all changed, when a group of Israeli soldiers entered the home I share with other CPTers, here in the Old City of Hebron.

The soldiers knocked and waited until someone answered the door. We were reluctant to let them in. They listened to what we had to say, but then they pushed their way in. We do not allow people to bring weapons into our home and asked them to leave their guns at the door, but they refused. Ultimately we had no choice.

They did not move furniture or search in cupboards. Their visit was short. They were polite and civil, but that didn’t make me feel any less powerless.

After they left I could not relax. Much later, when I went to my bed I could not sleep. I felt that my private space had been violated because unwelcome strangers had been in my bedroom.

The next day I witnessed a group of Israeli soldiers entering a Palestinian home.  They did not knock, but forced their way in, locking the door behind them. The family had no choice, entrapped in their home with armed soldiers.

The soldiers were rude, they made obscene comments about Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) that caused distress to the Muslim family. The family asked them to leave. They refused. The soldiers shouted. They moved furniture and emptied cupboards and drawers onto the floor. They pulled covers from the bed. After 2 ½ hours they left, leaving behind them weeping women, bruised men and a ransacked home.

When I came home I could not relax. That night I could not sleep. I kept thinking of the Palestinian family. I remembered how I had felt the night before. How could the family ever feel safe in their home again? How could they sleep in their bed? Did they wash and clean, as well as tidy, in an effort to expunge all traces of the evening’s violation?

And, to my shame, as I lay in bed trying to sleep, I also felt glad it hadn’t been me.


Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence reduction efforts around the world.  To learn more about CPT’s peacemaking work, please visit our website at:  http://www.cpt.org  Photos of our projects may be viewed at: http://www.cpt.org/gallery

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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