Faith Commons

George and the twelve people who arrived in Israel/Palestine on Friday have now safely arrived in a hotel in Tiberias. They plan to cross over the border to Jordan tomorrow before heading back to Dallas from Amman. All will be back by Monday. 

Our tour company, Mejdi Tours, has handled this unprecedented, frightening and challenging situation in a manner that has fostered trust and confidence. We are most grateful to them. We will continue to update you as the group continues their journey. 

In the meantime, we wanted to share a message from the community of Neve Shalom/Wahat a-Salam, where our group was scheduled to stay tonight:

To all our dear friends around the world,

We awoke yesterday morning, to a very grim day—one filled with fear, shock and uncertainty. We discovered we were entering into a complicated, tension-filled period in which our camp—the peace, shared society camp; the camp of reason and reasonableness—was under attack from all sides. Despite this, we remain steadfast in our belief that the way we have chosen is the only way to sanity and peace.

Hundreds of victims—most of them innocent civilians—have already paid a terrible price, and the bloodshed continues. We mourn all the dead on both sides of the border and feel for the families who have lost their loved ones. We worry for those who have been take hostage and hope for their safe return. We hear the sound of falling rockets that shake our floors and our children alike. Social media videos calling for acts of revenge on Arab citizens or for Arab citizens to join the battle for Gaza raise our already high anxiety levels and we fear right-wing Jewish activists who are already planning lynches.

To cope with this new, unexpected and unhinged reality, we have decided to increase security measures within the village, in addition to that provided by the outside security firm. Young people in the village have formed readiness groups, the shelters have all been opened, and the emergency personnel are prepared in hopes they will not be needed. The school staff is receiving support from the Ministry of Education (schools are closed for now), and the institutions are receiving support from the local authorities and the Association teams so as to deal with any possible events.

Once again, an unfathomable reality in our regions brings us to the same conclusion: There is no real solution without real peace. There are no shortcuts; we can’t live in tranquility and safety without recognizing the full rights of every single human being, Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, Arab, living between the river and the sea. We all need to live with security, freedom and complete democracy.

Dear friends: Especially now, when the storm around us is gathering strength and we are all in a state of emotional alarm, this is the time for us in Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom, members and educational institutions, the School for Peace, binational primary school, Pluralistic Spiritual Center and everyone who believes in shared society, to continue to be a compass point, to light our torches in the darkness around us, and to be a model of peace, equality and justice.

We feel blessed to know that we have so many friends around the world who support our cause and stand with us, no matter what the situation. We will keep you updated.

Yours in hope that we’ll come to know peace,

Samah Salaime
Neve Shalom/Wahat Al Salam