Palestinian Coordinator Mohamad Jamous organized a day of connection and unity on December 22 in and near Jericho with 142 Palestinian participants. It was the last meeting of AR Palestine of 2017. Two buses full of people met at the shrine of the Prophet Moses at 9:30 am. After being introduced to the Abrahamic Reunion and its work, everyone went on a tour of the shrine, visiting the tomb, the mosque, and other rooms in the area. Because of restoration work being done, they were unable to visit the wells and stable areas.
After the tour, everyone went back to the shrine’s mosque for the noon prayer. Before leaving, a group picture was taken outside the shrine. Some people nearby noticed the group and asked Mohamad Jamous who they were and why there was Hebrew on the banner. He explained to them that “We are a peaceful religious organization and all our work is centered on peace between heavenly religions.” As for the Hebrew on the banner, he told them that “we have members and coordinators who work with us in Israel.” He explained to them that the Abrahamic Reunion unites Israelis and Palestinians of all the Abrahamic faiths.
Next, the group went to the Jordan River for a tour. While there, they learned about the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and were told about the many visitors from around the world who make a pilgrimage to the area. Most of the group had never visited this site before and were excited to visit such a historic and sacred place.
They had planned to have lunch there, but there were many visitors that day and not enough tables available. Members of the group suggested going to the Spanish garden in Jericho and eating there. Everyone was happy to find a solution where they could all eat together.
After lunch, Mohamad Jamous interviewed some participants, asking them what love, peace, and respect mean to them, and how religion can be a force for peace. All of the answers shared the same core message: we are all human beings and there should be respect, love, and peace among all religions in the world, and not only in Israel and Palestine. Muslim participants agreed that Islam taught them to love and respect others and live with other communities in love and peace, saying people need to talk with each other to achieve peace.
After lunch, the group visited Old Jericho and the spring of Ein Al-Sultan, where people talked with each other and took pictures and the children there played together. At sunset, the day ended with a prayer that we can all live together in peace.
Mohamad Jamous and the other Palestinian Coordinators are looking forward to more peace journeys and peace building activities throughout 2018 where people from many religions can experience each others’ sacred spaces, perspectives, and each other as a human being – Happy New Year!