Holy Land Trust

Dec 07

HLT staff interviews Mustafa Barghouti at Women’s Empowerment Conference

Barghouti comments on progress of Women in Palestine

click here to watch the interview

Dec 06

Article of the Day: Is Israel guilty of the crime of apartheid? -

If you have ever visited the West Bank, would you agree or disagree?

Dec 02

Conflict Resolution Workshop


On the 30th of November 2011 the HLT Nonviolence Department conducted a workshop conflict resolution at the Dar Alkalimeh Secondary School. We had the honor to train 16 teachers, from the first grade up till the 12th as well as the school social worker and the principal. We started our workshop by thanking the school and its staff for inviting us to conduct such a work shop in one of the main schools in Bethlehem area.

Lubna Bandak and Marwan Fararjeh from the Nonviolence Department, and Jerry Lawler Ph.D licensed psychologist and volunteer from the United State made up the Holy Land Trust team.   We first raised a general question for discussion: What does conflict look like in your school? This generated a lot of animated discussion and first-hand accounts of conflicts between students and teachers’ and frustrations from teachers about not always being able to maintain order in their classrooms.

The trainees were then asked to create a role play depicting student conflict daily in a typical class room inside Dar Alkalimeh School. The trainees jumped into the exercise with enthusiasm taking on the roles of students, teachers, parents and principles, and social worker.

The role play opened up many questions about to deal with certain scenes of conflicts. The team provided many suggestions on techniques for calming classrooms, modeling non-violent behavior, dealing with violent cultural norms brought into the classroom, and handling individual problem children. The workshop seemed to be well received judging from the comments we heard and the HLT team was invited back for a follow-up workshop toward the end of January.  

Women’s Empowerment Conference

On the 29th of November the members of the Holy Land Trust attended a women’s empowerment conference. This activity which is held yearly and which I have attended in the past was targeted for women in the Bethlehem area and was sponsored by Health Development Information and Polices (HDIP) program in Ramallah. 

The event drew around 200 women who were provided inspiring messages on   different topics including health awareness, media, lobbying and advocacy, and human rights and nonviolence. Although all the women were from the Bethlehem area the women came from a variety of backgrounds and age groups.

Mona Mattar, the local coordinator for this program, delivered a stirring opening speech about how women have achieved many amazing things as a result of the HDIP empowerment program. These achievements are especially remarkable given the limited opportunities available for most Palestinian women. There are many inspiring stories of struggles against fierce odds and overcoming many formidable barriers.

Mrs Sumar Khalili, the main coordinator of the program, gave the second presentation. Mrs. khalili also congratulated the women who had made great strides forward as a result of the program but went on to tell the group that, given more opportunities, successful Palestinian women could do a lot in transforming the entire Palestinian society. 

Dr Mustafa Barghouti gave the keynote address. Dr Barghouti is one of the preeminent public and political figures in Palestine to have attended this conference. He also commented on the powerful achievements shown by women and related many stories of successful and creative women who excelled in their field in spite of the handicap of living under the pressure of the occupation and other barriers in the society.

Holy land Trust’s own volunteer Jenara walker had the honor to be invited to talk about her experience in Ohio and America and the difference between the Palestinian and American women. She described how American women have more opportunity but are less focused on family but, for Palestinian women the reverse is true. Can Palestinian women be provided more opportunities and maintain their focus on family life?

Dec 01

Calling for the Freedom of Palestine

On 29 November 2011 which marks the International Day for the solidarity with the Palestinian People  , the nonlinear dynamic network  in cooperation with Al Harra Theater Group organized an activity  in that occasion .  The aim of the activity was to present through theater the violations of the Israeli occupying forces for the Palestinian basic freedoms of movement , expression , education and  religion.

The activity was held at the Manger Square with presence of local and international audience, where two endorsements were read from American volunteers calling for the support of Palestine and ending occupation.

It is important to note that this day was recognized and announced In 1977 at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

To watch video on the activity please check:


Nov 28

Article of the Day: Defending the Indefensible

The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

         November 29, 2011 commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.  It has traditionally provided an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remained unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly, namely, the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.

On that Occasion Wendy Jennings wrote the following letter:

          My five months in Palestine have changed my life. I have fallen in love with the land and the people here. I have been accepted into the community and taken in as one of their own, and I have made dear friends throughout Palestine. Palestine’s beautiful traditions and history have taught me so many lessons, including the value of family and history.

          My love for Palestine also causes my heart to break as I witness the oppression and persecution of these people who have loved me and accepted me so generously. My frustration with the American government, my government, has grown as I learn more about how deep and entangled America is in supporting the occupation of Palestinian life. The occupation is an inescapable part of life in Palestine; every day, something reminds us that the Palestinian people are not free.

          I stand in solidarity with Palestine because I know they are suffering under an unjust system but they will not be able to defeat this system by themselves. Solidarity from the international community is necessary to loosen the chains of injustice and finally give the Palestinian people the freedom they have been yearning for.

Also Jerry T. Lawler Ph.D shared this statement:

           As a psychologist and an American citizen who has traveled 5 times to Palestine in the last 10 years as a volunteer, I heartily endorse the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29th of each year (UN Resolution 32/40 B, 1977). The people of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are virtual prisoners of the occupation by Israel, an occupation fully supported by my country. The occupation violates the most basic human rights of the people here to live peaceful lives, to be treated fairly under the law, to have equal opportunity, and to develop their full potential as human beings. As a psychologist I am especially distressed by the psychological damage caused to children and adults alike by growing up and living under a brutal occupation. I urge people of the world to support an end to the occupation and a swift and equitable transition to a two-state solution to the conflict.

Nov 24


Launch of 1st Annual Bethlehem Summer of Service Program

On behalf of the Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem Bible College and Middle East Fellowship, we cordially invite you to this year’s Summer of Service in Bethlehem!

Whether young or old, in the business world or a student, we are excited to offer an exciting program that will allow you to walk where Jesus walked, but, more importantly: to do as Jesus did. That’s why we emphasize service, prayer, fellowship with the local Christian community, peacemaking, healing and reconciliation. (Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 1:17).

Many people around the world dream of visiting the Holy Land. By participating in Summer of Service, you’ll be able to build relationships with Palestinian host families, enjoy traditional food, explore a vast array of Holy sites, and expand your knowledge base by taking Arabic classes and studying God’s word in fellowship with other believers. As if that isn’t enough, students are also able to earn college credit via participation. You will return home with a culturally rich experience that will leave an impact on you for a lifetime!

If you are interested in joining us this summer, or you’d like more information, please visit www.summerofservice.org

 Peace to you.

Nov 23

“At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.