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Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Young Gaza Scouts in Jerusalem for 3 days
JERUSALEM – On the morning of April 2, 2014, a group of 11 young scouts of Saint Joseph Latin Parish, Gaza, arrived in Jerusalem, with their pastor, to meet the Patriarch and his assistant.
They had this “opportunity” to enjoy the taste of freedom, but only for three days. A group of 11 young boys and girls, students and sadly are still hard hit by unemployment at the end of their studies. They succeeded with their pastor, Father George, of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, to obtain the necessary permits to exit Gaza for an official meeting at the Latin Patriarchate. Most of them have not come out since 2005. An opportunity to “breathe” a little, to visit the Holy Places in Jerusalem, and their Christian brothers and sisters in the West Bank.
“Patience and time do more than strength…”
The task was not easy. Exit permits should have been granted last Friday, but for these young persons, thirsty for a little freedom, the papers will not arrive until two days later. On Monday with their young Pastor, they waited eight hours at the Erez checkpoint, which separates Gaza from the outside world. Eight hours before the Israeli soldiers say to them: “try another day…”
The next adventure begins! The group once again restarted trek to the Erez checkpoint. Still the same interminable wait. But this time it will last “only” four hours. They will be able to pass!
Until the expiration of their permits, the scouts stayed in Beit Jala, a few kilometers from Jerusalem, where the Institute of the Incarnate Word rented a house. They were happy to become acquainted with the Scouts of Beit Jala, and have a few meetings with them to discuss their experiences and dreams about some projects – a summer camp together, for example – if the young Gazans still have the chance to get an exit permit.
Young people who want to continue to hope.
During their meeting with Bishop Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, the young people naturally talked about their daily life in Gaza, and the many difficulties related to employment. “I am a journalist by training , and I did further training in project management, but I work at the YMCA,” says Waseem Abu Daoud, director of the Scouts of St. Joseph of the Latin parish, who is already married and has two daughters. Waseem but did not complain, because this group of eleven young people, six others who have received a quality university education, are unemployed. One reason for the unemployment is undoubtedly the total blockade that Gaza has endured for years. The other reasons are certainly related to political and social considerations specific to the current situation in Gaza. Real suffering for the Christians of Gaza, but they refuse to resign in frustration, “because we are here to serve God and the Church, and we are committed,” assured one of the young.
They were able to meet His Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal, who discussed the current situation in Jerusalem – the Judaization of the city – implemented by various methods aimed at reducing the number of Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims and increasing the number of Jews in the Old City. (Recall that East Jerusalem is part of the land occupied by Israel in 1967.)
The Gaza youth presented their gifts to the Patriarch and his assistant: Different souvenirs bearing the Scouts of Saint Joseph logo.
The visit was a moving encounter with the young, but, as the others, their daily life is full of pitfalls and is far from normal. With their hearts full of dreams and projects, they want to continue to hope anyway.
Firas Abedrabbo and Myriam Ambroselli
Posted by Al-Bushra Watch at 10:12 AM