Middle East

In Gaza, Is Love in the Land of Enmity Still Possible?

In counting their losses, Christians, Muslims, Jews discover common ground in grief.

Since the outbreak of Israel's military offensive against Hamas in late December, I have received – almost daily – fresh accounts from those close to the conflict.

In November, 2006, I met Labib Madanat, executive director of the Palestinian Bible Society, on my way into Gaza for a reporting trip to follow up on our 2005 coverage by Deann Alford, which we titled: Love in the Land of Enmity.

This week, as the fighting and dying continues, Labib shared some recent experiences with me, which he agreed could be released publicly:

January 2009:

Last year, and after the killing of Rami Ayyad, I had the chance to visit Gaza several times. The most memorable one of those visits was late February 2008 together with Brother Andrew. On that visit I stopped to pick a stone from a location where an Israeli soldier got killed in action 18 years ago; I did so according to a request from the soldier's father, who later became a friend of mine. We also visited Rami's widow Pauline Ayyad and her new born baby ...
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