Timothy Seidel

The things that make for peace

I continue to struggle with not being cynical about the situation in Palestine and in Gaza in particular. It is not a healthy place for me to be, spiritually or emotionally. But the Gaza Strip is a heart-breaking catastrophe in so many ways and the people there have been suffering for so long. It makes me think about the ways that we in the US are irrelevant — in the sense that it is less about what we need to do and more about what we need to stop doing. Timothy Seidel comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

The forgotten faithful

On a pleasant Sunday afternoon in July 2000, members and pastors belonging to local Palestinian Evangelical congregations from the Palestinian territories gathered at the Bethlehem Hotel to celebrate the formation of their council. An American woman who was present at the meeting approached one of the pastors and asked him if she could say a few words to the assembly … When the lady took the microphone, I couldn’t believe the words that came out of her mouth. Timothy Seidel comments from Bethlehem. 

Who are we forgetting?

I thought about the irony as I walked the grounds of the old Orthodox Church, surveying the church and the new wall being constructed around it. We were visiting with members of the al-Mujaydal Heritage Committee who were working to construct this wall in what was the village of al-Mujaydal. Al-Mujaydal was one of the over 500 Palestinian villages destroyed between 1947 and 1949, and its residents among the 750,000 to 900,000 refugees expelled from their homes in what Palestinians remember as the Nakba or “Catastrophe.” 

Water and Resistance

The view from the Palestinian village of Nahhalin, in the west Bethlehem area, is sobering. This small village — along with the villages of Husan, Battir, Wadi Fuqin, and Al Walaja — are becoming more and more isolated from Bethlehem. As Israeli colonization in the Etzion bloc grows and as the Wall continues to cut deeply into the West Bank and strangle these communities, these Palestinian villagers have little access to the rest of the Israeli occupied West Bank. Even now, Israel is burrowing out a tunnel under the major settler bypass road running through the Etzion bloc. Timothy Seidel writes for EI

Living Stones: Easter 2007

6 April 2007: Al-Masiih Qaam! Haqaan Qaam! (Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!). This Arabic greeting has been commonly heard this week as Christians from across the world traveled to Jerusalem to experience Easter. It is truly an exciting experience. Yet at the same time, we witness with sadness the realities that our Palestinian sisters and brothers continue to face. The week before Easter had already been quite a full week, here in the “holy land.” The Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday, was marked by a huge procession from the historical town of Bethphage, where Jesus began his donkey ride 2000 years ago, up and over the Mount of Olives, and then back down again up to the Old City of Jerusalem. 

The Road to Hell is Paved with Personal Commitments

In her recent travels through the Middle East, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brought with her, many have speculated, little more than another round of optimism. This familiar optimism was also found following the statements Secretary Rice delivered in her keynote address at the American Task Force on Palestine Inaugural Gala in Washington, DC in October of last year in which she declared her “personal commitment” to the goal of a “Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel.” Whatever sense of optimism one might draw from such statements, it is predictably shattered when confronted with the worsening situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 

Christianity in Palestine: Misrepresentation and Dispossession

“You are a Christian?” a foreign tourist inquires with marked disbelief of a Palestinian tour guide in Bethlehem. “When did you convert?” This response by foreigners, Christian or not, is unfortunately not uncommon in Palestine. Even in Bethlehem, the origin to which many trace the very roots of their Christian faith, this disbelief goes hand-in-hand with tourists’ visits to the Church of the Nativity — visits that seem to carry with them some image of a time long past with only archaeological or religious sites remaining with little consideration for the “living stones” that have continuously borne witness to this tradition for two millennia. 

Where is the hand? The shifting of Middle East perceptions toward America

“When I was a boy, my family received a bag of flour from the United States,” tells Musa Taha, a Palestinian farmer from the village of Qatanna. It was right after the Nakba or “Catastrophe” of 1948 that left between 750,000 and 900,000 Palestinians as refugees, expelled from their homes and dispossessed of their land, that Musa remembers receiving this gift. He vividly remembers the sacks themselves and the picture on the front of two clasping hands with the label “A present from the people of the U.S.A. to the Palestinian people.”