In Bethlehem, the largely Christian-Palestinian city of Jesus’ birth, Wi’am strives to build a just society through mediation, conflict resolution, and non-violence. Its premises are bordered on one side by Israel’s controversial separation wall (deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2005) and on another side by a street that often sees confrontations between Palestinian protestors and Israeli soldiers. Rocks, tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and live ammunition sometimes land in Wi’am’s garden. “Simply being present here is an act of non-violence,” Programme Manager Imad Nassar says.
Wi’am, a Mission & Service partner, works with all sectors of Palestinian society, Christian and Muslim, women and men, from schoolchildren to the elderly, addressing issues such as domestic violence, economic empowerment, peer relationships, and living under occupation.
In its work with schools, Wi’am teaches children and young adults the skills they need to mediate conflict in non-violent ways and how to live and work in a society under the constant stresses of occupation. Since starting its workshops, there has been a significant decrease in violence in the schools it has been working in. Former students talk about how Wi’am changed their lives, gave them confidence, and put them in situations where they met Israeli students like them on neutral ground—often the first time they’d met Israelis who weren’t soldiers.
We sing thanksgiving for the conflict resolution and mediation of Wi’am supported through Mission & Service.
If Mission & Service is already a regular part of your giving, thank you so much! If you have not given for Mission & Service, please join me in making Mission & Service a regular part of your life of faith. In all our Mission & Service giving, with a willing heart, we sing thanksgiving to God!