Monday, January 19, 2009

Washington DC

It has been a very interesting couple of days in Washington DC. I have been here for the last few days doing training along with the other American member of the team, Pat Ochodnicky. Pat’s blog can be found at

We have been meeting in the Capital Hill neighborhood and there is electricity in the air that you cannot help but feel. We are leaving tonight for Jerusalem and another week of training there but, I am very glad that I had the opportunity to be in DC for these past few days and experience the excitement. The bitter cold has not stopping any of the one million plus people who have come here to witness history. Everyone you see has a big smile on their face.

In addition to our training in International Humanitarian Law, and Middle East culture, we had the opportunity to meet with the legislative staffs of both Michigan Senators. They have expressed great interest in our mission and want to keep in touch with us along the way, and meet with us when we return to Washington on our way home in April. We truly are representing our country in many ways in the effort and are happy to have the support.

It is funny how fate works. While we were out to lunch one of the days, we stopped to buy an Obama t-shirt at one of the many t-shirt stands. Also buying a t-shirt at the same stand was Congresswomen Lois Capps from California. She happens to be one of only a very few members of congress who have visited the West Bank, met with Palestinians and has seen first hand the impact of the occupation from their prospective. She meet met with some of the Ecumenical Accompaniers when she visited in 2004 and has traveled to some of the most troubled areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She was happy to hear that Pat and I were on the next team representing all Americans.

While most of our elected Members of Congress and Senators have visited Israel at the invitation of Israel Lobby groups, almost none of them visit with Palestinians while they are there, or visit the West Bank. Until this changes and our elected officials can get exposed to both sides of this conflict US legislation will continue to support an unending cycle of violence. Please join me in supporting those elected officials who have the courage to try to see both sides like Congresswomen Capps.

60 Minutes - Is Peace Out of Reach?