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We Belong to the Land: The Story of a Palestinian Israeli Who Lives for Peace and Reconciliation

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Nominated several times for the Noble Peace Prize, world-renowned Palestinian priest, Elias Chacour, narrates the gripping story of his life spent working to achieve peace and reconciliation among Israeli Jews, Christians, and Muslims. From the destruction of his boyhood village and his work as a priest in Galilee to his efforts to build school, libraries, and summer camps Nominated several times for the Noble Peace Prize, world-renowned Palestinian priest, Elias Chacour, narrates the gripping story of his life spent working to achieve peace and reconciliation among Israeli Jews, Christians, and Muslims. From the destruction of his boyhood village and his work as a priest in Galilee to his efforts to build school, libraries, and summer camps for children of all religions, this peacemaker’s moving story brings hope to one of the most complex struggles of our time.


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Nominated several times for the Noble Peace Prize, world-renowned Palestinian priest, Elias Chacour, narrates the gripping story of his life spent working to achieve peace and reconciliation among Israeli Jews, Christians, and Muslims. From the destruction of his boyhood village and his work as a priest in Galilee to his efforts to build school, libraries, and summer camps Nominated several times for the Noble Peace Prize, world-renowned Palestinian priest, Elias Chacour, narrates the gripping story of his life spent working to achieve peace and reconciliation among Israeli Jews, Christians, and Muslims. From the destruction of his boyhood village and his work as a priest in Galilee to his efforts to build school, libraries, and summer camps for children of all religions, this peacemaker’s moving story brings hope to one of the most complex struggles of our time.

30 review for We Belong to the Land: The Story of a Palestinian Israeli Who Lives for Peace and Reconciliation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Evan Hays

    This is always the first book that I recommend (and constantly loan out) to anyone who asks me about the Middle East. For those of you who do not know, Abuna is a Melkite Priest (now an Archbishop) in Galilee. He is an Israeli citizen, but he is an Arab. He was expelled from his home at the Nakba, along with his family. His life has been devoted to bringing reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, which is an overwhelming task for anyone, let alone a person which neither side would clai This is always the first book that I recommend (and constantly loan out) to anyone who asks me about the Middle East. For those of you who do not know, Abuna is a Melkite Priest (now an Archbishop) in Galilee. He is an Israeli citizen, but he is an Arab. He was expelled from his home at the Nakba, along with his family. His life has been devoted to bringing reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, which is an overwhelming task for anyone, let alone a person which neither side would claim fully as their own because he is neither Jewish nor Muslim. I had the amazing opportunity to meet him in the spring of 2005 during my semester in Cairo, and it was a major blessing to meet him and learn from him. Yes, I do not agree with all of his theology, but I can't say that I would necessarily believe anything different from his particular Palestinian form of liberation theology if I had grown up the way he had. His life has been a serious challenge to me because I believe he has faithfully lived out the gospel in so many ways despite how it easy it would have been for him to resort to hate or despair. The best part of this book is the way that he uses his life story to talk about the conflict rather than using political rhetoric. My favorite part is when he locks his parishioners in the church until they reconcile, and then they have Easter a week early! Read this book if you want to learn about what the Middle East conflict is really all about!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lucasparry2002

    This is a must read for Christians who are interested un understanding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Most of the dialogue we hear from the US media and even within the Christian church is a one-sided story. I believe it is vital to understand the whole story so that we can work together for a solution of peace, which will help in easing conflict and tension all around the world. Begin here... then read "Blood Brothers" by the same author. Your understanding will never be the same again.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    “We Palestinians and Jews live in what the world calls the Holy Land, but what makes the land holy? Is it the stones or trees? Is it the churches? The shrines? The paths on which the patriarchs and our Lord Jesus Christ walked? Or is the land sanctified by what we do to make God present?” “Mobile Western people have difficulty comprehending the significance of the land for Palestinians. We belong to the land. We identify with the land, which has been treasured, cultivated, and nurtured by countle “We Palestinians and Jews live in what the world calls the Holy Land, but what makes the land holy? Is it the stones or trees? Is it the churches? The shrines? The paths on which the patriarchs and our Lord Jesus Christ walked? Or is the land sanctified by what we do to make God present?” “Mobile Western people have difficulty comprehending the significance of the land for Palestinians. We belong to the land. We identify with the land, which has been treasured, cultivated, and nurtured by countless generations of ancestors. As a child I joined my family and moving large rocks from the fields. We lay with our backs on the ground and our feet on the rock, and pushed, pushed, all together. Little by little, ‘slow by slow,’ the rock was moved to the side of the field. Perspiration rolled off our bodies, and blood often streamed from our feet, soaking into the ground. It took months to clear the stones from just a small field. The land is so holy, so sacred, to us because we have given it our sweat and blood. It rewards us with wonderful, immense crops. Father could collect up to three tons of dry figs from his fields. Palestinians are at one with their land, and part of them dies when they must be separated from it.” “Remember, your roots in Galilee go back long before the two-thousand-year-old trees. Your Palestinian ancestors planted these trees, and loved the land. It is from this land you have been removed and into this land you will someday return. From this land God took human form. In this land Jesus of Nazareth gave his word for the redemption of the world. Perhaps you will have something to do with your blood to redeem Jews and Palestinians and to create an environment of negotiation, love, and tolerance.” “My dear friends, we love you and regret that you hold these those machine guns to threaten, scare, and kill. When you face all olive saplings with machine guns, you have no hope for life. You are scared and you scare others. See these Palestinian youngsters who are all carrying an olive sapling, the tree of peace that promises to endure for centuries! The children are relaxed while you were very tense with machine guns. We shall never give up, but we shall never carry weapons to plant in olive tree and obtain our human rights to home and freedom.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shelley Alongi

    It seems as if he wanted to live with his neighbors but he always seem to present them in a bad light so I’m not sure why this book that laminated for a little bit of peace prize or what he did. He may be sincere and maybe he wants to point out that he was forced to leave his home he always puts them in a bad light I think. But it was a good read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard R., Martin

    I highly recommend this book. It is excellent. The author, Elias Chacour, is the former Melkite archbishop of Galilee and a Palestinian. His is the story we do not often hear in the West -- the story of how the Palestinians who are citizens of Israel are treated as second class citizens in their own country; how they experience such great discrimination that makes U.S. discrimination today seem minor. It is also the story of a courageous priest who would stand up to his bishop when he felt that I highly recommend this book. It is excellent. The author, Elias Chacour, is the former Melkite archbishop of Galilee and a Palestinian. His is the story we do not often hear in the West -- the story of how the Palestinians who are citizens of Israel are treated as second class citizens in their own country; how they experience such great discrimination that makes U.S. discrimination today seem minor. It is also the story of a courageous priest who would stand up to his bishop when he felt that his bishop was not living up to Christ's call in serving his flock. It is a great story of strength, courage and faith in the face of many difficulties and challenges, and it is a call for all of us to confront evil and violence with love, mercy and forgiveness.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    A pro-Palestnian point of veiw wrtten about a Christian-Palestinian Priest, Elias Chacour, in Galilee. Sort of a back-patting book about all the great things he did for his parish and how brave he was in every circumstance. Yet, there is a lot of unknown history of Paleistine here and I, at least, needed to read it. With the situation in the Middle East continuing for decades, I need to have a broader understanding of what is going on. I have seen Israel as the "right"side in the issue, only to A pro-Palestnian point of veiw wrtten about a Christian-Palestinian Priest, Elias Chacour, in Galilee. Sort of a back-patting book about all the great things he did for his parish and how brave he was in every circumstance. Yet, there is a lot of unknown history of Paleistine here and I, at least, needed to read it. With the situation in the Middle East continuing for decades, I need to have a broader understanding of what is going on. I have seen Israel as the "right"side in the issue, only to discover the sources of much of the great anger against both Israel and the US concerning the land.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    What an amazing story! Elias Chacour is an inspiration to all of us a prophet in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

  8. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Leyden

    I read this book for my english class and I wasn’t very interested. I would read because I had to and not because I wanted too. Then as I got into the later chapters it started to catch my attention, I started to get more into the book because of what was going on and what Elias believed in. I soon found myself reading 10 pages every night because I wanted to and sometimes I didn't want to stop. I can see why this book was put up 7 times for a Nobel Peace Prize. Elias Chacour describes his life I read this book for my english class and I wasn’t very interested. I would read because I had to and not because I wanted too. Then as I got into the later chapters it started to catch my attention, I started to get more into the book because of what was going on and what Elias believed in. I soon found myself reading 10 pages every night because I wanted to and sometimes I didn't want to stop. I can see why this book was put up 7 times for a Nobel Peace Prize. Elias Chacour describes his life how he grew up in a religious family and what he liked to do as a child such as go on walks with Jesus. When he grew older he tried to make peace with the Israelis and Palestinians. Elias tells us about how he was a priest in Gallie and how it was a struggle to build schools, and libraries. I like this book because it tells you stuff you may have never heard of in regular life. It shows you how much the people are need help and how Elias is doing the right thing trying to get Israelis and Palestinians to make peace because they need to make peace. If the Israelis and Palestinians make peace then the people that live there will be safer because there will be less war. With that being said I think more people need to follow Elias and do what he tried to do for years. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Israelis and Palestinians. This will help your knowledge and will make you excited to see what is next.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    Elias Chacour is the Archbishop of Galilee of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. This is the second book of his that I have read. I found this book to cover much of the same ground that his first book, Blood Brothers talks about. That did not detract from this book, but readers should be aware of this fact. This book will expose the reader to a point of view that we rarely hear about in the United States. Chacour considers himself to be a descendant of Jesus' disciples. His message is that the Is Elias Chacour is the Archbishop of Galilee of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. This is the second book of his that I have read. I found this book to cover much of the same ground that his first book, Blood Brothers talks about. That did not detract from this book, but readers should be aware of this fact. This book will expose the reader to a point of view that we rarely hear about in the United States. Chacour considers himself to be a descendant of Jesus' disciples. His message is that the Israelis and the Palestinians need to live on the same land, in peace. I wish that I could believe that his desire will ever come true.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    What an inspiration this man was and still could be! I am only sad to see a man who was so supple, flexible and effective now allow himself to become hardened and stiff. If only he could retrace his own steps. Never say it can't be done. Look at the Dalai Lama. Abuna Elias Chacour was much more effective and damaging to the hardheads of the bad side of Zionism. (Yes there is a good side, there is good and bad in everything). Was very moved by some of the truths and basic pieces of common sense e What an inspiration this man was and still could be! I am only sad to see a man who was so supple, flexible and effective now allow himself to become hardened and stiff. If only he could retrace his own steps. Never say it can't be done. Look at the Dalai Lama. Abuna Elias Chacour was much more effective and damaging to the hardheads of the bad side of Zionism. (Yes there is a good side, there is good and bad in everything). Was very moved by some of the truths and basic pieces of common sense emitted by the mouth of this man. My own words inspired by this book would be: "Humans are a beautiful and a terrible thing." Brian Ross

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    In February I walked into a church, and my life has not been the same since. Many of you have asked me (or yourselves) what I am doing with these "religious nuts", and I am here to tell you that I am radicalizing my understanding of the world. There are many things happening that I can't put words to yet, a shift in some stodgy, dusty old thinking that's no longer serving me. I am opening myself up to new ideas about religion and the religious. How exciting! Wish me luck (and good books) on the In February I walked into a church, and my life has not been the same since. Many of you have asked me (or yourselves) what I am doing with these "religious nuts", and I am here to tell you that I am radicalizing my understanding of the world. There are many things happening that I can't put words to yet, a shift in some stodgy, dusty old thinking that's no longer serving me. I am opening myself up to new ideas about religion and the religious. How exciting! Wish me luck (and good books) on the journey.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This is an incredibly moving and inspiring book about an amazing man who, despite obstacles, strives for peace in a troubled area. He loves his oppressors as much as his own people and will stop at nothing to create educational opportunities for the children of his village. I recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the Israel/Palestine conflict through the eyes of a Palestinian Christian Arab Israeli.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wesley

    Wasn't as good as Blood Brothers, but still very powerful. I was able to visit Chacour's school in the Galilee region. He spoke to our group of 27 students. Irregardless of your agreement with his political-religious messages, he is profoundly a man of peace; when he spoke to us you could feel the love and gentleness that he writes about so astonishingly well in his books. He is no pretender.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I am very grateful for this book. It was really my first exposure to what life is like as a Palestinian in Israel. It exposed a lot of misconceptions I had. It was not terribly well written, but kept me interested and was overall a very good meditation on forgiveness. This man seems to live the gospel out.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    So touching and emotional. You think you know all about the history of Israel and Palestine, but this book really opens it all up for you. I think everyone should read this and take a leaf out of Elias Chacour's book. We sure would have alot less wars going on. It is really heartbreaking to read all about the unjust way Palestinians are treated.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    In some ways too sweet, a Pollyanna view of life, yet if more people believed this way, the world would be a much better place. A good intro to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially for Christian westerners, as it is not too graphic or frightening, and speaks in a religious format they will be familiar with, yet still shows the problems and ideological impasse all sides face.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    How do you bring peace to the Middle East? Read about it in this autobiography of a Palestinian priest working for peace with Israel. Unsentimental, humorous, tough as nails, cunning as a fox and wise as Solomon: who better to guide you through this nightmare....

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I loved this book. It speaks in a voice that is so often ignored in the dialogue about Israel and Palestine. I learned so much and found myself driven to caring so deeply about the people in it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a base knowledge of the conflict.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Francine

    I have read it and shared it with others...it is most worthy of your time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Not as good as "Blood Brothers", but an inspiring look at the middle east conflict.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Billie Rain

    i dare you not to love Elias Chacour after reading this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

  24. 4 out of 5

    Channing Brooks

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  27. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Hopkins

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