A Sheikh and A Surpise !!

On April 26, the EAPPI team responded to a call for support from the Deir Jarir community council.  Facing increasing encroachments from the nearby illegal outpost of Amuna, an extension of the illegal Ofra Settlement, the community planned  demonstration to take back their land. Under the leadership of Deir Jarir, leaders from the surrounding communities of At Tayba, Silwad and Tammun joined in the efforts to reclaim their lands, illegally appropriated by the Israeli outpost of Amuna, an extension of the Ofra Settlement.

It should be noted that the Israeli High Court has declared that Amuna must be demolished by July 15, 2013.  Whether this order is carried out remains to be seen.

I was introduced to a remarkable gentleman, one who had served as an “alderman” to the community for over 37 years.  Sheikh Abdul Fath Hoseen Barakat Shejaia, 92 years young.

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Originally from the Sinai Peninsula,  Sheikh Abdul has had his lands taken by Israeli settlers.  He continues to use the courts to recover 20 dunams of land (a dunam is 1,000 metres square, or ).1 hectare, the amount of land a person could plow in one day) near the illegal Amuna Outpost .

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During the translation of his story from Arabic to English, he starting speaking in another language.  To my immense surprise he was describing his time in Colombia in the 1950’s – “He trabajado en Colombia en la década de 1950 como comerciante.”  I responded: “Usted habla español. Vamos a hablar acerca de sus experiencias en Colombia …”  We then commenced an interesting conversation.  What a surprise – being able to speak with someone beyond our mother tongues !!

And later that day, during the community’s demonstration, Sheikh Abdul was present on a very stony hill supporting his community.

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Surprises find me at every turn in this journey in pursuit of peace and justice.

Blessings to you from this Holy and troubled Land.

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