I joined the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) from September to December 2011. My colleagues and I provided protective presence to vulnerable communities and we monitored and reported human rights violations. This information is used by the United Nations, ICRC (The Red Cross), the Quartet, Save the Children and others.
Being inspired by the dignity and endurance of the people of Palestine, as well as by the courage of those Israelis and so many South Africans and others worldwide who actively work for a just peace Palestine-Israel I continue to advocate for justice and peace in South Africa and in Palestine and Israel.
My advocacy is rooted also in sound, scientific research. A record of my scholarly contributions on the matter of Palestine and Israel is available here.
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Heerlik om nuus van jou te kry! Die Kaap is pragtig lenterig en elke week is daar so sagte deurdringende nattigheid. Het ‘Incendies’ gaan sien, en bietjie van die konflik, waar jy is, beleef in die bioskoopsaal. Wees veilig en sit sonskerm op ….! Hoop julle maak ‘n verskil! Groete
Thank you, Marthie, for the moving reports and photos. Your ministry of presence and solidarity is making a difference. We stand with you!
Thank you Clint, it is so good to hear from you and to receive your support. Do people in the rest of the world know what actually happens here? How kind, generous and loving most of these people are and how they long to lead their lives in dignity? I’m not sure that I can make a difference, but I have no doubt that I’m learning a lot. From a larger perspective though, EAPPI through its many years of involvement and logging of incidents indeed makes a difference. It is such a privilege to be part of this programme. Many thanks for introducing me to EAPPI!
Lekker om van jou ook te hoor Jaco, geniet die lekkerte 🙂 Ek sien elke dag wat die weer in S/bosch is op igoogle, en soms voel dit so vreemd en so ver.
You might be doing good work, but sometimes leaving out facts like what Hamas does to the local Gaza Christians, cancelling Christmas for example. How the Christian population has dwindled to almost non existent in Bethlehem.
When looking at the situation in Israel and PA, you forget to mention where the Christians are living a better and more fulfilling life.
You might think you are doing a good job, however when you distort the facts and the truth comes out, the organisation that backed your distortions suffers.
The only reason why SA would back sanctions against Israel is because they got orders from Iran…yes SA still supports the Iranians eventhough sanctions prohibit them.
Hi Gideon. I report on my personal experiences, and since I wasn’t in Gaza, I don’t know if what you’re saying about Gaza is correct or not. What I do know is that the Christians in Palestine (Gaza and the West Bank) stated clearly that they reject any arguments implying that the problems are caused by Muslims rather than by the Occupation (see The Bethlehem Call).
I am a Christian in South Africa, and my life cannot be fulfilling if I know that fellow human beings, be they Christians, Muslims, Jews or from any other religion, suffer. Martin Luther King said that an injury to one, is an injury to all.
Gideon, I don’t think that I do a good job. Not at all. But I do know that I want a just peace for all in the world, so I’ll keep on trying.
I applaud your work, however do not be so naive to what is happening, i would think you are an intelligent person, reading the first few paragraphs about how Israel is an illegal regime, where does that come from? It almost sounds like it is the modernisation of the protocols of the elders of Zion, for example global domination.
I understand that you can not have a fulfilling life while people suffer, however, how can you live a fulfilling life while blatantly dismissing the facts. Israel is not in charge of Bethlehem it is actually under full PA control and any hardships would be brought upon them by the PA.
Unless you can inform me of the hardships that Christians are living at the hands of Israel, or is it that you are not really fighting for the rights of Christians but rather the rights of non-citizens of Israel?
I somehow think that your views are being hijacked, and you are fighting for a group of people that would massacre you without even a thought.
I would advise you to try and contact some of the Christians that have left places like Bethlehem and ask them the truth about the Christians of the West bank and who is really to blame for their hardships.
Occupation has nothing to do with it and that is not a Christian ideology as most Christians believe that the Jewish homeland is Israel. This so called occupation is none other than a propaganda stunt.
BTW how were you treated by the Israeli officials? I also think that comparing Israel to apartheid is plain disrespect to the black South Africans that actually went through the real Apartheid. Another concept being exploited and hijacked by the same people that impose hardships on their own Christian population.
Your views are fundamentally flawed, I thank you for referring me to the Bethlehem Call, it unfortunately shows how your community has been hijacked by Islamist elements.
I wish you luck with your endeavours. However it is time for you to rethink about what your community stands for…delegitimisation of Israel, calling for the end of Israel…does that sound like Christian values or Islamist values?
Gideon, Israel occupies Palestine in illegal ways. My colleagues and I witnessed the multi-layered, interwoven, institutionalised ways by which Israels denies Palestinians their basic human rights. Have a look at the alarming statistics of the United office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs‘ website (http://www.ochaopt.org). The situation is worsening.
I do agree with you that many of us are led by the nose by politicians, the media and religious leaders. That’s why I went to see for myself. Who ever influences me (or hijacks my thoughts as you put it)… I am so very pleased if I am influenced to think that human dignity applies to ALL in the world. I like upholding international laws on human rights (e.g. for both Israelis and Palestinians). I choose to interpret religious texts contextually and from a pluralistic position. But maybe above all, I am influenced by my own guts which tells me that a world where we see and acknowledge the faces of others, will be a better world.
About Bethlehem: Who built the illegal Wall that cuts through Bethlehem and denies Palestinians free access in their own land? Who occupies more and more land in Bethlehem? (https://marthiemombergblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/310-uprooting-of-olive-trees-and-confiscation-of-land/) Who continues to build illegal settlements in Bethlehem? Do you know that most of the Israeli checkpoints in Palestine, like the one in Bethlehem, are ON Palestinian land (and hence it is illegal and no border point)?
It is of critical importance to me to talk to Christians, Muslims and Jews, also to those who do not reside in Israel or in the occupied territories of Palestine. One such a person is Mark Braverman, a devout Jew from the USA. Consider reading his book on Christians, Jews, and the search for peace in the Holy Land: Fatal Embrace (2010, Synergy books: Austin).
How was I treated by Israeli soldiers? Whenever on my days off and being viewed as a tourist – generally very well. Whenever in my vest, sometimes aggressively, sometimes neutral. Many of these soldiers have their doubts about what they do, and many of them, after their service, share their stories. Do you know the Israeli organisation Breaking the Silence? These are ex-IDF soldiers who share their stories, photos, offer tours, etc. (http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il). Many young people also refuse to join the IDF – I’ll post something on this soon.
Last point: on the views of Black South Africans. In November 2011, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine was held in South Africa. Have a look at their findings: https://marthiemombergblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/is-israel-guilty-of-apartheid-under-international-law/
Gideon, I agree with you. Marthie Momberg and her ideas was hijacked by emotion….she has been set up by the Palestinians and she falls for them…
I do not see Mexicans complaining about the wall set up right next to Texas. You should google some of those pics. Israel does not occupy anything. Palestine does not exist and never existed. Therefore logically they can not be occupied. I wonder what illegal settlements in Bethlehem you are talking about, Bethlehem has no Jewish presence let alone Jewish Settlers. If you can not see that then unfortunately you are blind. Those Israeli Soldiers that protest like Breaking the Silence are traitors in my opinion.
I saw you had a contribution to an article in the Cape Times, pity you are sucked into political claptrap. It is a pity you are so gullible.
Who will benefit from a boycott? Just a side note Ahava has opened a factory in South Africa, and is selling products made in South Africa, all raw materials come from Jordan, so boycotting this factory will cause Jordanians and Palestinians to loose their jobs.
Very sad how you continue to walk around with blinkers over your eyes, In the end your boycotts will end up stopping all imports from Israel. Who will lose out? not Israel, Israel has found new partners. The losers will be SA. I do not think your and all your cronies forward thinking has not considered the effects of the boycott on South Africa.
Why is Israel singled out? When say the Syrians have killed more Palestinians in a few months than Israel has in say since 2000?
maybe one day you will take the blinkers off your eyes and realise that if it was not for the Jews the Christians would be the ones persecuted.
Just look at Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria and all the other countries that have become Islamic.
My blinkers are off Gideon. I no longer categorise people into faceless groups.
The call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) was made in July 2005 by the Palestinian civil society to the international community urging various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.
You are turning your back and a blind eye at the expense of your fellow Christians who you should be helping.
Yet in your mind the only country to do wrong is Israel. see how flawed your logic is?
Thank you for your insightful blog. Many of our South African leaders like Archbishop Tutu, Ex Minister Ronnie Kasrils say that the Israeli form of apartheid is indeed worse than the one we suffered. Even speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete said that the last time she saw the map of occupied Palestine, she couldn’t sleep. The pass system, group areas act, illegal home demolitions, Arbitrary arrests and detention without charge, legislated discrimination etc are memories we South Africans have, and the pain of its recollection is enhanced when we see worse being meted to the Palestinians under the brutal Israeli occupation.
I don’t know how Hamas treats the Christians in Gaza, but if the love and brotherhood displayed by all the residents of Gaza are anything to go by, I would say we all have a lot to learn! When the mosques, homes, schools, hospitals, any and every civilian structure was being barbarically blown up, the priests opened up the churches to their Muslim brothers saying: Israel has bombed your mosques, come to our church, make your azaan and pray here in safety. If that’s not co existance and love, what is?
Marthie, God bless you and your team and all those working for justice and peace globally.
I wait for the day we South Africans can truly be free. In the words of my beloved Tata, Nelson Mandela “We South Africans know too well our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Paledtinians”.