Legacies of 1948 Delegation
Interfaith Peace-Builders & American Friends Service Committee
May 27, 2008
Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) are pleased to announce that their 18-member delegation to Israel/Palestine entered Israel at the Ben-Gurion airport Monday morning and is now safely in Jerusalem.
The purpose of this delegation, the 27th to make the trip since 2001, is to educate North American citizens about the region and deepen their understanding of its conflicts. This is the fourth delegation that IFPB and AFSC have co-sponsored since 2006.
The delegation comes at a crucial time in the Middle East. This month, the world commemorates the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba. Nakba is the Arabic word for "catastrophe" and refers to the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people. For some, this anniversary will be a cause for celebration, for others mourning or protest. There are often different understandings of the history of 1948 and its ongoing significance to Israelis and Palestinians. IFPB and AFSC delegates will hear from individuals who lived through 1948 and newer generations who continue to live with its effects and consequences.
The delegation will meet with Palestinian refugees and visit Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum. The group will hear from Human Rights workers and visit with Palestinians and Israelis who once took up arms in the conflict and who now work with Combatants for Peace, an organization which has rejected violence and promotes reconciliation between the two peoples.
In addition, the delegation will meet with the nonviolent peace movement in Israel and Palestine. The group will visit the Palestinian village of Bili’in, which organizes weekly nonviolent demonstrations and recently won a high-profile case in the Israeli High Court challenging the route of Israel’s Separation Wall and the confiscation of their village lands. Delegates will also participate in a weekly vigil by the Israeli organization, Women in Black, which takes place every Friday in West Jerusalem.
A photo of the delegates at orientation in Washington, DC.
The delegation includes the following people:
Several delegation participants are also blogging about their experiences. Like the trip reports posted here, individual blogs reflect the views of delegation participants only, and not necessarily Interfaith Peace-Builders.
Yotam Amit - Chicago, IL
Luisa Blanco - Forked River, NJ
Michael Brown - Takoma Park, MD
Alison Castel - Philadelphia, PA
Nora Graham - Evanston, IL
Travis Green - Albuquerque, NM
Dave Grishaw-Jones - Santa Cruz, CA
Wendy Hartley - Nevada City, CA
Leonor Keller - Haverford, PA
Cathleen Krahe - Carbondale, CO
Eric Lundblade - Haverford, PA
Miryam Rashid - Chicago, IL
Paula Roderick - Chicago, IL
Chris Rogers - Flourtown, PA
Samee Sulaiman - Brooklyn, NY
Shakeel Syed - Culver City, CA
Ed Thompson - Northbrook, IL
Pat Westwater-Jong - Bolton, MA
Interfaith Peace-Builders and the American Friends Service Committee believe in the power of eye-witness experience and transformation. Given the opportunity to speak directly with Israelis and Palestinians, delegates return to the United States better informed, more energized, and with a deeper understanding of the possibilities for true justice in the Middle East.
Upon their return to the United States in June, delegates will share their experiences with the public, the media, and their political representatives. Media interested in interviewing the participants when they return, and groups wanting information about speaking engagements, should contact Interfaith Peace-Builders (email@example.com and 202.244.0821)
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