The Eighth Annual
Tree of Life Conference on Israel and Palestine
What Will Become of Our Children?
Voices of Hope for a World Free
of Prejudice and Hatred
Saturday, October 25th
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Speakers, Bazaar, and Music
Open to the public
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
310 Rte. 137, Harwich
(just off Rte. 6 at Exit 11, left at end of ramp)
Organized by the Tree of Life Educational Fund
in Partnership with Friends of Sabeel-North America and Kairos USA
Our focus this year will be on the children of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as victims of war and occupation, as children of warriors, and as tomorrow’s leaders and shapers. Both Palestinian and Israeli youngsters are growing up with the assumption that the world is not safe, that violence is a way of life. Too many know the trauma of losing loved ones, their homes and villages in deadly conflict, trauma that will mark them for life. Many will be scarred or disabled by war injuries, and many will have been robbed of their very childhood.
In the most recent violence in Gaza, over 400 of those killed were children – some killed in their schools, hospitals, bedrooms, even while playing on the beach. As long as Israel’s brutal attacks on the unprotected, blockaded people of Gaza continue, as long as its illegal occupation of the West Bank remains unchecked, as long as the United States funds Israel’s military might, Israeli children may well perceive that some lives are more valuable than others, and Palestinian children will grow up increasingly frustrated by the daily injustices of the occupation. In desperation, some will resort to violence, and, sadly, violence will continue to beget more violence.
There is hope, however, in the voices of conscience in Israel and Palestine who are crying out for the solidarity of the international community as they champion a better and more peaceful world for all children. These are voices unfortunately under- represented in mainstream media, but who will be featured speakers at this year’s Conference.
In the ancient book of Zechariah, the prophet envisions a time when “the streets of Jerusalem [Hebron, Bethlehem and Haifa] will be filled with boys and girls playing in the streets.” If that’s a dream of a shared humanity, a vision of a place where people of all races, religions and ethnicities can live together in peace, then surely that’s a vision worthy of all our efforts. What will become of our children?
Hopefully, we can be the answer to that question.