After the darkness, dawn

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Many Christians who support Israel out of a fundamentalist Zionism forget that they have Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer under the occupation. Collective punishments through fences, walls, checkpoints, and curfews fail to distinguish between the violent and the nonviolent. Israeli soldiers often do no better, as civilian casualties mount in their war on terror.

"We are all traumatized," said Elias Mishrawi, a Christian Palestinian businessman and political activist from Beit Sahour. "We no more know what is normal life.... Not only do I not see a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't see a tunnel."

While such despair is prevalent among Palestinians, following are the stories of three Palestinian Christians living and working in hope of peace while confronting the violence of occupation.

On April 4, 2002, Rev. Mitri Raheb was detained by Israeli soldiers as they ransacked the compound of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, smashing windows, computers, and artwork. That attack, and the curfews that followed, have set back, but not squelched, a vision rooted in nonviolence and "contextual theology."

After a seminary education in Germany gave him answers to questions his people weren't asking, Raheb asked himself: What is good news for people who hear bad news every day?

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 2002
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