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JERUSALEM, OLD CITY — This morning, before we departed Bethlehem and the West Bank to return to Jerusalem, Run Across Palestine coordinators Timothy Young (from Honor, Michigan) and Vivien Sansour took half an hour to plant an olive tree in Sansour's back yard — a vista that looks out over Bethlehem and stretches into Israel proper.
The act seemed simple enough. Dig a two-foot hole in the ground and insert a sapling whose roots are encased in earth. Spread rich manure around the plant and fill in the hole. But its ramifications will be felt for hundreds of years. The tree planted in Vivien's back yard will reach maturity in 15 years and thrive long after the humans who planted it are gone.
Watch the video here:
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That's why the Run Across Palestine delegation is here in the Holy Land, of course — to raise awareness about the importance of olive trees for the Palestinian people, and to help them plant their children's olive trees.
The act complete, we put away the tools, washed our hands, and climbed into a waiting taxi for the trip to Jerusalem — along a new highway that connects Israel with its West Bank settlements.
By mid afternoon the last of the participants in the upcoming Run Across Palestine were all gathered at the Hashimi Hotel in the Old City — some tired, some weary from the plane trip across the Atlantic — but all mesmerized by the golden Dome of the Rock and Western Wall visible in the distance.
On Saturday morning, the journey begins.