Father David Smith to speak on 'Recognizing Israel, Recognizing Palestine'
Father David W. Smith, professor emeritus, University of St. Thomas, and founder of UST's Justice and Peace Program, will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in Room 126, John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts.
This event is free and open to the public.
Smith will give a PowerPoint presentation on "Recognizing Israel, Recognizing Palestine: Three Months With a Peace Team in the Occupied Territories of Palestine." He will discuss the work he did from Oct. 12, 2007, to Jan. 8, 2008, with the Michigan Peace Team.
For more information, contact Laurie Dimond, (651) 962-5300.
Centered in Beit Sahour on the edge of Bethlehem, the team traveled to these areas:
- To the South Hebron Hills to protect shepherds from militant settlers in At Tuwani (in cooperation with Christian Peacemaker Teams), Tuba and Susiya
- To Bil'in west of Ramallah to join weekly protests against the "separation barrier" that the Israeli High Court has agreed is illegally confiscating village land (but the wall has not been moved)
- To Umm Salomona to protest a new Israeli only bypass road that cuts villagers off from olive groves
- To several areas to protect Palestinian farmers while they harvest their olives
The Michigan Peace team spent five days in Gaza during the blockade, shortly before Hamas demolished the wall between Gaza and Egypt.
They slept with shepherds in their tents or caves, which replaced the homes which the Israeli army had destroyed, and they dodged teargas in confrontation with the Israeli army in Bil'in. Palestinians were eager for their presence, since there consistently was less violence when international observers were present.
The team interacted with Christian Peacemaker teams, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Project Palestine-Israel of the World Council of Churches, the International Solidarity Movement, Ta'ayush, Combatants for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, Siraj, the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People, the International Middle East Media Center, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.