Episode 3 - Amira’s Story: Challenging Western Christian Justification of the Occupation
SEND AMIRA A NOTE
If you’d like to drop Amira a note, please address it to her, and we’ll make sure she gets it!
Amira shares about Christ at the Checkpoint, a biennial conference hosted in Bethlehem by Bethlehem Bible College to explore, “the obstacles to peace in our world and the opportunities for peace-making that spring from… [the] Christian faith.”
Amira attended and now works for Bethlehem Bible College, an interdenominational college in Bethlehem.
If you'd like to support a cause Amira cares about, feel free to donate to Bethlehem Bible College, and if you specifically want your funds to go to Christ at the Checkpoint, you can designate your donation to "Other" and type in "Christ at the Checkpoint."
Check out these helpful resources for more information on the issues raised in this episode.
Checkpoints and Forbidden Roads
Amira shares how she is affected by a lack of freedom of movement. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem documents the checkpoints and forbidden roads for Palestinians within areas allocated for a Palestinian state.
The Permit System
In this episode, we discuss the permit system and how it affects Amira and other Palestinians. Here are a few helpful resources:
- Visualizing Palestine provides a helpful infographic of how the Israeli ID system works, and for whom it works.
- The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem describes this a little more in an old press release entitled “Permit system to cross separation barrier is racist.”
- Al Jazeera has an article, “ID cards split Palestinian families,” discussing how families are cut off from each other.
The Siege on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine
Amira mentions the siege on the Church of the Nativity and recounts the events surrounding that time.
The siege of the Church of the Nativity took place from April 2 until May 10, 2002 in Bethlehem in the West Bank. As part of Operation Defensive Shield, the Israeli military occupied the Church of the Nativity trying to capture suspected Palestinians who sought refuge in the church compound. At the same time, there were more than 200 monks and Palestinians residing in the church. After 39 days, the siege ended with the suspected Palestinians exiled to Gaza and different parts of the world.
Although the siege was confined to the proximity of the Church of the Nativity in the center of Bethlehem, the army incursions were not limited to that area. The larger district of Bethlehem experienced raids and incursions in the middle of the night as part of regular Israeli military tactics. Palestinian men were frequently targeted for arrest at the time, even those who were engaged in nonviolent resistance and were not connected to the main purpose of the siege.
Amira describes meeting with Israelis with Christian theological perspectives different from her own, including Christian Zionism.
Access to Water
A reality of daily life for Palestinians in the West Bank is the lack of consistent access to natural resources, including water for drinking, washing, and irrigation of agricultural crops. Since the 1967 War that marks the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, Israel seized control of the water resources. Israel uses the water as it sees fit, providing more water distribution to those residing in Israel or on illegal Israeli settlements than to Palestinians in the West Bank.
The World Health Organization recommends an average consumption of 100 liters of water per capita per day. For Israel, the average is 287 liters per capita per day. For Palestinians who are connected to a water grid, the average is 79 liters per capita per day, and 20-50 liters for those who are not connected to a water grid. For more information, B’Tselem provides an overview of the water issues, and a snapshot of the practical challenges due to the man-made shortage in the West Bank and throughout Palestine.
The music featured in the intro and outro of the podcast comes from a live jam session of Palestinian musicians at Hosh Al Yasmine organic farm and restaurant located in Area C in Beit Jala.
The music tracks behind the interview and narration come from the following sources:
- "Being Together," and "A Quick Coffee," by Borrtex on the album Untitled Love Story, which is available for noncommercial use under the Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International License through the Free Music Archive.
- The Wall, tracks 01, 03, 04 - 2.4, 04 - 2.8, and 09. Thank you to the New Vision Media Center for generously providing us access to these resources.
*Some names have been changed for anonymity.
Disclaimer: The WOMEN BEHIND THE WALL Team does not necessarily agree with or endorse all the opinions and perspectives linked to in the resources above.