The Holy Land Trust is an NGO based in Bethlehem, Palestine.
Any political peace process between Palestinians and Israelis will not be sustainable if either community is unwilling to forgive and move forward in true peace, whether between communities or amongst themselves. With strong social factors dominating public opinions against peace in the Holy Land, it is important for community based organizations to open the space that allows for different voices that challenge social norms to be heard.
It is truly the Holy Land Trust’s belief, following Jesus’ precepts, that above all, we should love thy neighbor as thyself. We are a peace building organization that works with communities, irrespective of faith or nationality, based on the Christian tradition of Peace, one that is not passive but is complete, a peace that we need to be deserving of and that motivates our actions. Jesus inspires us in the notions of Justice and conflict resolution and connects us to this Land.
The Holy Land Trust thus aims to contribute to the peace process through several angles of the same prism: 1) creating dialog based on non-violence communication between the three faiths and communities sharing the Holy Land; 2) healing individuals within these communities in order to rid particular traumas that shackle them to the past; 3) empowering the communities to take responsibility for their own future, not as victims of the occupation and ongoing conflict but as survivors; 4) raising international awareness and support for minority voices that are calling for peace in the different communities. We are a peace building organization that works within communities, irrespective of faith or nationality, based on the Christian tradition of Peace, one that is not passive but is complete, that we need to be deserving of and that motivates our actions. Jesus inspires us in the notions.
The Holy Land Trust through its longstanding programs has trained over 600 women leaders in nonlinear leaderships skills, taught over 1,000 internationals, Palestinian and Israeli men and women nonviolence communication, our healing of past traumas program has helped bring leaders for the three faiths together to understand deep hidden aspects of the conflict and how past traumatic experiences create a continuous perception of fear and therefore limit our ability to even see the humanity of the other. Just this year, 5,000 children from refugee camps and conflict sensitive areas were given music lessons as an expression of nonviolence communication training. Through its Travel department, the Holy Land Trust has been able to raise attention to the situation in Palestine by welcoming over 15,000 members from delegations, fact finding tours, political and pilgrimage missions. This program has been at the forefront of sustainable tourism supporting families with small businesses, artisans and artists, investing back into the community with projects such as home rebuilding and olive harvesting for lands targeted by military confiscation and settler violence.
This coming year, 2014, the Holy Land Trust takes on another endeavor in its home base by re-initiating the Open Bethlehem movement. We will be investing in historical Star Street, organizing the second Bet Lahem Live festival that celebrates our Great City, and supporting tourism as a sustainable and just industry. In conjunction, Holy Land Trust is working with the Bethlehem community to empower themselves and their City using notions of Culture, Justice, and Faith as well as advocacy tools that celebrate Bethlehem as an open, multi-faith Middle East. For more information visit our website.