Three images by Tom Suarez from Bethlehem show the fanfare and effect of the Pope’s visit this weekend:
Below is a notice that the main Bethlehem checkpoint, called Rachel’s Crossing, will be closed. I asked Suarez about the laughable spelling. He said, “It is authentic. It is IN the Bethlehem checkpoint. It is the official notice.”
Then he sent along this wider shot to show the notice:
Now here is a letter from Sydney Levy of Jewish Voice for Peace on the Pope’s visit. JVP calls on Presbyterians to pass a divestment measure:
The world will be watching carefully as Pope Francis begins his historic visit to Jordan, Palestine, and Israel this weekend.
While he likely won’t have to go through checkpoints himself, the Pope will witness firsthand the suffering and unjust imprisonment of the Palestinian people. People of conscience like you and me will be asking, “What can we do to end the injustice?”
And there is something you can do, right now. In a matter of weeks, the Presbyterian Church (USA) will be voting to divest from 3 companies that profit from creating misery for Palestinians.
Please join me and sign our multi-faith letter of support for Presbyterian divestment.
Unfortunately, some Jewish groups and their Christian supporters insist that a vote for divestment would damage interfaith relations between the two communities.
Your signature of support is critical because it sends the message to church leaders that solid relations between Christians, Jews, Muslims, and people of other faiths must be based on respect for the dignity and well-being of all fellow human beings.
The Pope is doing his part. In an unprecedented move, he has chosen a rabbi and an imam to accompany him on his trip. He will also be meeting with Christian leaders of other churches. We are all one family.
Your message of support to the Presbyterian Church will carry the same message: We are all one. We stand together. The time to divest from injustice has come.
When he visits Bethlehem, perhaps Pope Francis will see the holes left in the ground where, just this week, the Israeli army uprooted over 1,500 fruit trees just a few miles south west of Bethlehem. Or he’ll touch the wall, built illegally on Palestinian land, that separates families and friends from each other, and farmers from their land. Or he’ll feel the sting of segregation when he is allowed to travel on Israeli roads, across Palestinian land, that Palestinians are actually banned from using.
No matter what, we will continue to support divestment. We will continue to call for justice.