Peace in the Holy Land – Nations Media

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 9:15 am


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The following is an exclusive print story from our archives. Sami Awad comes from a long lineage of Palestinian peace activists, and he is fighting for the peace of Jesus to win out in the land he calls home.

A chosen people, a promised land, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the wall, the two-state solution, settlements, terrorism, armageddon, and two people groups who feel their very existence is on the line: to call the conflict in the Holy Land complicated is a gross understatement.

Peace in the Middle East has become an implausible saying likened to the day pigs fly. Were told its a hopeless cause and that 3,000 years of land rights and religious tension will continue until the end of time, or when Jesus returns, depending on your outlook. Fortunately for those living within the tension, there are a few people who have not given up on peace. Sami Awad is one of them.

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On the darkest night of his life, Sami Awad lay in an Auschwitz bunker looking at the pictures children sketched on the walls: kids playing drums, riding bicycles, and kicking balls. In a place full of evil, the children of Auschwitz drew pictures to remind themselves of innocence.

By the time Sami traveled to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps, six decades had passed since the international horror of the Holocaust. He came to bear witness to the lives lost and to learn how fear motivated the wars atrocities. What he discovered instead was a narrative of fear living on in the hearts of people todayincluding his own.

In many ways, Samis story begins not in the bunker where he underwent a spiritual transformation. It doesnt even begin in Bethlehem where he grew up under Israeli military occupation. His story begins generations earlier, with an ancestry of peacemaking shaped by the teachings of Jesus. It was these teachings that set Sami on a journey out of fear and into love.

Samis father was raised in a Palestinian-Christian family in a diverse neighborhood in Jerusalem. For decades Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived together peacefully. Then in 1948, war between an Arab coalition and the State of Israel shattered the peace. Samis grandfather was killed in this violence, shot by a sniper while raising a white flag on his roof to show that unarmed civilians lived below. The Awads buried his body in the courtyard of the house and fled.

Samis grandmother spent her life promoting peace, despite the injustice she experienced as a widow and refugee. Revenge and retaliation have no place for us as a family and in our faith, she often told her children and grandchildren.

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Peace in the Holy Land - Nations Media

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October 20th, 2019 at 9:15 am