"One day, there will be a great love, like the love of the rain, that wipes away all borders, that grows all the grain of the Middle East. One day, long before the End of Times, we will beat all our words of hatred into peace"
The growing need of Palestinians and Israelis to meet each other, especially at a time when the walls between the two people are getting higher, has brought about the idea of having gatherings on the seam line between the West Bank and Israel.
The First Gathering of Great Love in Al Khader
Friday the 28th of April, was a very special day. 27 of us gathered in Al-Khader, near Bethlehem, at the yard of a splendid Greek monastery and had a wonderful time together. There were Mais, Mona, Murad, Manal, Mai, Maha, Mervat and their mother from Halhoul; Haya, Amir, Omar and Ahmad from Al-Khader; Abed and Samia from Nablus; Mirella, Nitzan and Dhyan from Jerusalem; Vincent, Esther, George, Lucas, Eliyahu and Elisabeth from Germany; Hamdan and Wissam from Bethlehem; Frank and, most importantly, David "of Arabia", both originally from the UK. The loving radiance of the little ones among us spread through all our hearts and, slowly but surely, melted them into one. In this language of the one heart we could understand each other's Arabic, Hebrew, English, German or Gibberish with little difficulty. It would be impossible to give an accurate account of all that happened in this gathering. It will suffice to say that the most amazing rainbow appeared around the sun as we started our little event.
The Second Gathering in Ein Haniya
After a successful gathering full of love in Al-Khader, we were delighted to have another one, on Monday, May 15th, from 4 pm onwards into the night. The 15th of May 2006 was both Nakba Day and Lag Ba'omer ("bonfire festival"), and we wished to be together on this day. Bathing in the spring, sitingt around the fire and sharing music and stories of our hearts. At the end of the gathering, a group of soldiers on vacation joined us and danced a Palestinian Debka with us. Vincent asked one of the soldiers if he could come and visit them at a checkpoint where they are stationed and the soldier agreed.
The Following Gatherings
The third gathering took place on June 4th at the Tent of Nations, in Nahalin, on top of a mountain overlooking the plains between Bethlehem and the Mediterranean Sea. Since then, we kept having gatherings in Ein Haniya, and since November the gatherings became a regular weekly event, drawing locals from the Walaja and other villages around as well as people from Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the international community.