Notes on Palestine, Part 6: Rev. Dr. Wanda Thompson

Rev. Dr. Wanda Thompson, Pastor, Ambassador Baptist Church, Washington, DC

December 6, 2016

It’s unbelievable to me that here I am at the River Jordan, the Baptismal Site of Jesus. Not far away are mind fields and  signs describing danger and prohibitions. This trip of a lifetime has opened my eyes to so many things. Despite the negative images posted to the world about Palestinians – suggesting that most are terrorists — this is not the on-the-ground experience. Everywhere we have gone, the people have been friendly and they have been consistent in their messages of wanting justice and an end to the occupation they endure on a daily basis. Most just want justice first, peace and  the recognition of the state of Palestine.So there  are  “minefields”  when it comes to advocating for justice and equality for Palestinians. But injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
Not being allowed freedom of movement or travel; denial of water accessibility; unwarranted detainment and incarceration of youth; illegal seizing of property; lack of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities; walls that separate Palestinians from their families, economic opportunities and from the Israelis that are oppressive and discriminatory, and so much more have been described to us everywhere we have gone. You see it in the haunting words and expressions of the children. There are armed Israeli soldiers and checkpoints everywhere. There are daily humiliations for Palestinians everywhere. Even with that, they maintain their dignity and sense of self-worth.

So, as I stand here where people are being baptized, I am reminded of the need for the

At the Jordan River looking over into the Country Jordan. This is an area that is setup for baptisms suggesting that it is the site of Jesus’ baptism. The area is dangerous because of mine fields.

renewing of our minds. It is the Palestinian Christians who maintain and celebrate all our holy sites. They are the keepers of the holy places. They do not deserve to be demeaned. Some may want to “explode” as I say this but this is one of the mine fields I describe. It is time for the message of the Palestinian people to get out – a desire for justice and peace and recognition of their State. The illegal occupation must end. The divisions of the forceful occupation and the denial of basic human rights must come to the world’s attention. We all need to learn to co-exist. Isn’t that the message of Jesus – to love one another as He loves us? I don’t have all the words I need to tell you about the human rights issues here. But I know what I have seen and heard. Everyone needs to come, experience, and see for themselves.

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