Springfield Dominican Sister Mila Diaz Solano resides in Jerusalem where she is completing her doctoral thesis at the École Biblique et Archéologique, a French academic establishment in Jerusalem, founded by Dominicans, and specializing in archaeology and Biblical exegesis.

Today she shared with her Dominican sisters in the United States and Peru her experience of the past weeks of violence in Israel and at the border fence in Gaza, set in motion, in part, by the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv on May 15. More than 100 Palestinians, including children, have been killed in Gaza since March 30, 2018.

The situation was tense last week. We had many things converging at the same time: US embassy move to Jerusalem, Nakbah-day and Israel’s day of foundation, Gaza killings, Shavuot, the beginning of Ramadan, etc. This week has begun much more calmly. As Latin Christians, we had a Saturday evening-vigil for peace called for and presided over by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It was a powerful prayer service held at the Basilica of the École. We all long for peace in this land. The archbishop reminded us that act of gathering together is taking an action and not just talking. This situation is so talked-about, but nothing changes. Our challenge is not to let ourselves succumb to intolerance, anger, and delusion, but to build bridges. As Christians, we are in the middle. We have to resist violence and cultivate peace inside of us and spread it.

During the prayer vigil on Saturday (the vigil of Pentecost) we experienced a beautiful sign. All of us received blessed spikenard oil on our hands and were sent from the church to greet those outside and spread the perfume of peace we experienced inside as a church! That was Pentecost! My hands were perfumed, but the perfume did not stay with me, it was spread in the shaking of hands with others.

Now I have to continue my thesis, but I wanted to share with you what we had experienced—a minuscule portion of society praying and being sent to spread peace.

Learn more

The Dominican Justice Office recently provided these two resources to the Dominican Sisters and Associates to help shed light on the difficulty of making peace in Israel-Palestine.

Two Tikkun perspectives on Gaza, Israel and Palestine Tikkun is a magazine dedicated to healing and transforming the world that builds bridges between religious and secular progressives by delivering a forceful critique of all forms of exploitation, oppression, and domination while nurturing an interfaith vision of a caring society. It was founded by Rabbi Michael Lerner, who also leads Beyt Tikkun, a Jewish Renewal synagogue in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A CBSN interview with George Mason University assistant professor Noura Erakat in which she concisely articulates the history and causes of the conflict.