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  • Mary L. Hanna

Shanti Sena Stories: CPT "Works"

2006 August

A blonde Caucasian, burnt dark-brown by the sun, wearing a Bedouin dress and her hair woven into a long thick braid, entered the outdoor restaurant of the Jerusalem Hotel and sat down. Dianne, my Christian Peacemaker Teammate, recognized Roz, a British woman who has lived in Palestine for 20 years as the wife of a Bedouin.

Roz has been working with UNOCHA (United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Aid), interviewing and assessing the psychological damage of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian children. Their research, she said, demonstrates clearly that the presence of groups like CPT, the Italian Operation Dove, and EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Program for Palestine and Israel) significantly reduces the psychological trauma for children in villages where they maintain a long-term presence.

A week later Dianne, who has been part of our Hebron team for ten years, invited seven recent university graduates she knows to an exchange program with a similar number of their international peers. Four spoke to the international group about growing up and living in Hebron, with its occupations by soldiers and by settlers. All four mentioned, repeatedly, the benefits of having CPT in their community. One told of being interrogated by Israeli intelligence about his relationships with internationals. “The Israelis clearly thought the internationals, meaning CPT, were significant.”

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