24th September 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | Bethlehem, occupied Palestine
Fire. That seemed to be the theme yesterday as we celebrated World Week for Peace in Bethlehem. Fire, when tear gas canisters erupted into flames in the Aida refugee camp, showing the continued violence. Fire, as we lit candles in the shape of the West Bank, signifying hope. And fire in our hearts, symbolizing our determination to fight for justice until peace prevails. Although the evening began with empty seats, this was not due to a lack of attendants. In an all too symbolic manner, tear gas filled the air during our worship service for peace, causing our visitors to seek immediate shelter inside. Once the tear gas finally subsided and mint leaves were passed out, then a beautiful service was finally able to begin. Following the beautiful words preached by our speakers, we demonstrated that love, hope, and peace will always prevail. This was shown by igniting tear gas canisters outlining the borders of the West Bank. But these canisters contained candles instead of the harmful smoke they usually carry. As each candle was lit, a prayer and a promise was made to dismantle barriers by continuing the nonviolent fight against the occupation, knowing one day that the wall will fall!