Let's Marry and Settle Down

The Gate Cafe at Damascus Gate was busy yesterday as the East Jerusalem population emerged from Ramadan. I sat and had a coffee with my friend Haitham and his cousin Abed, talking politics as usual. Two stories emerged that I'd like to share with you. They reflect the complicated identities of Palestinians, Arabs, Jews and Israelis.

I was meeting Abed for the first time so naturally we enquired about our respective origins and families. Abed was visiting from Germany where he had made his home in Frankfurt with his wife and children. Abed is a Muslim, from Jerusalem. Many years ago his wife immigrated to Israel from Germany. Her mother was Jewish and her father a Christian. Abed met his wife in Jerusalem, they fell in love, and were married abroad because marriage between religions is not possible under israeli law. Today they live in Germany because conditions here are not the best for a mixed marriage.

The second story I heard was about a Jewish lady who was caught behind Jordanian lines in Jerusalem at the end of the war of 1948 when Jerusalem became divided. East Jerusalem at that time was not a safe place for Jews, and a Muslim, a neighbor of Haitham's family sheltered the Jewish lady. In the meanwhile the United Nations negotiated a cease fire and rolls of barbed wire separated East and West Jerusalem, with the Jordanians controlling the east, and Israel the west. The Jewish woman settled into life in Jordanian Occupied Jerusalem, and, in time, married the son of her benefactor.

Then in 1967 Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the woman was reunited with her shocked Israeli family. By then her nieces and nephews were in the Israeli military, and her own (Palestinian) children were gearing up to resist the Israeli Occupation.

So what's the moral of these stories? Perhaps just to show that at a human level we can all get along here, we can even marry and have children together.

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1 comment:

  1. Rev. Linda D. WescottSeptember 25, 2009 at 12:15 PM

    Thank you for your wonderful newsletter with all of its links, your blogs, and the information and inspiration they provide. I welcome the opportunity to share this information with others. A tour through your company last spring was an unforgettable experience that has sparked a desire to come back to Occupied Palestine to spend more time with the people and learn more from them. We can find common ground and understanding in our differences, if we greet one another as fellow human beings. Thank you for this channel of communication. Sincerely,
    Rev. Linda Wescott, Alaska, USA

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