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Follow-Up on Emil Halloun Visit

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When Kairos West Michigan learned that Archbishop Chacour was coming to the US Midwest we jumped at the chance to bring him once again to W. MI.    While Archbishop Chacour was all booked up, a youthful, bright PhD candidate named Emil Halloun, who teaches English at the High School in Ibillin, was made available to report to us the current conditions “on the ground”. 

As an Arab, Christian, Palestinian Israeli, his situation is a lot different from a West Bank Palestinian. The Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI) get their funding from the Israeli government, even though they are a “private” school.  The 3,500 students in K – 12 have a high reputation among Christian AND Muslims students in the Galilee (about 25 miles South of the Palestinian city of Nazareth).    Mr. Halloun made clear that 21% of the voting public in Israel are Arabs, that is, Arabs who chose NOT to flee in 1948, when Israel cracked down on Palestinian villages and olive orchards and people who were not Jewish.  They stayed, even though they are clearly “second class” citizens.    It was pointed out that the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, last year, voted to declare that the Israeli State was for “Jews only.”  This seems to codify the discrimination against Palestinians, preventing them from equality of rights as full citizens.    The full support of the One State being conducted by the Likud government by the present American administration is especially vexacious to the indigenous people.     And this is to say nothing about the even deepler alienation of the millions of Palestinians living in the “West Bank and Gaza” who are under military rule, subject to detention without charge, confiscation of their land (for State purposes); infringing on electricity and water rights, entrance and egress from their land and an economy being strangled by Israeli control.     

Mr. Hallous chose to stay in Holland from Wednesday evening until Saturday morning.  He was able to visit with officials from HOPE college and Western Seminary on possible collaboration down the road, between American universities and MEEI.  [reported by John Kleinheksel]

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At Kairos West Michigan, we work to unify and mobilize West Michigan Christians to take a stand for peace in Israel/Palestine. We believe that the time is right and that God is preparing the way for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.

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