Israelis Celebrated Independence Day, Palestinians Lamented ‘The Catastrophe’

The week in Jerusalem and Bethlehem has been a study in contrasts as Israelis celebrate Independence Day and Palestinians in Bethlehem protest the Nakba (the catastrophe). Israelis marched through the Damascus Gate and the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on their way to the Western Wall. Protesters faced off against Israeli Defense Forces near Bethlehem Bible College.

Covenanters are working with partners to promote peace. ¬†Mercy Aiken, a member of Quest Covenant Church in Seattle who is volunteering at Bethlehem Bible College, wrote on Facebook: “Most of all, please pray for everyone here in this land, whether Muslim, Christian, or Jew. I love the people here so much I feel I would tear out my own heart for them, any of them. And my time here has convinced me that their prosperity and peace is tied up with each other and not apart from one another. If you love them too, or even just ‘some’ of them, know that you can only help some if you are willing to love and work for the equality of ALL.”

A group of boys celebrate. Photo: Mercy Aiken

The crowd gets ready to go through the Damascus gate, which leads into the Muslim section of Jerusalem’s Old City. Photo: Mercy Aiken

Most of the young men who marched were peaceful, but others bullied Palestinian students and knocked goods from shelves of Palestinian shopkeepers. Photo: Mercy Aiken

Nurses with gas masks prepare to care for protesters in Bethlehem near Bethlehem Bible College. Photo: Mercy Aiken

Palestinian residents in Bethlehem face off against Israeli Defense Forces. Photo: Andy Larsen

Protests happened near Bethlehem Bible College. Photo: Andy Larsen

Rubber bullets like these were used against demonstrators and narrowly missed Andy Larsen.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Photo: Andy Larsen

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