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Church hosts West Bank talk

When Greenfield resident Sandra Boston traveled to the West Bank in 2012, she made it her mission to witness and record what she calls the “apartheid situation” currently going on between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people.

On Tuesday, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Haydenville Congregational Church, 143 Main St., Boston will share images and stories she collected while touring the West Bank on an educational excursion arranged by the Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies, a non-profit organization that located north of Jerusalem in Beit Sahour.

Boston says that her interest in the Middle East was inspired by her time spent in Lebanon in 1960.

“I had a Palestinian roommate in college back when I was studying in Lebanon,” Boston said. “I have always had and interest and a love for that part of the world, so I wanted to take this trip to see what has transpired over all these years.”

During her trip, Boston says that she met with local Palestinians directly effected by the conflict, as well as peace activists, politicians and members of human rights organizations.

She said witnessing the continuing cycle of violence that plagues the region and the “consistent abuse of power,” had a tremendous impact on her.

“It was a very eye-opening trip,” Boston said. “Towards the end, I realized that it was like stepping back into our own history,” she said. She likens the situation on the West Bank to the historic U.S. policies of seizing Native American land by force and “relocating” Native people to controlled, and contained reservations.

Joining Boston Tuesday will be Yael Petretti, a Jewish-American Israeli who lived and work in Israel for 25 years. Petretti describes herself as an activist for “Palestinian rights and statehood.” She and Boston will offer a question and answer period as part of the presentation.

“Growing up I learned the Israeli narrative,” Petretti said. “But after working in the West Bank, it was not hard to see that the narrative was missing a lot of information. The Israeli occupation is in reality, an obscene injustice that has to stop,” she said.

Petretti, an instructor in “compassionate listening skills” said she returned to the states “broken hearted about the conflict because I care about people on both sides.” “I came back here broken-hearted about the conflict because I care about people on both sides,” said Petretti.

The program is sponsored by the Trap Rock Center for Peace and Justice, the Peace and Justice Committee of Haydenville Congregational Church and the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence.


Money for Meekins

The 6th Annual Kay Warren Hilltown Challenge is well under way with two weeks remaining in the fund drive. Warren, a resident of Goshen is offering a matching challenge to the out of town patrons who use Meekins Library. Warren will donate $2,000 to the library’s FY14 annual fund, if $2,000 is donated by patrons outside of Williamsburg by June 30, 2014.

This year the FY14 Annual Fund goal is $20,000. According to Williamsburg Library Board Chair Ann Haxo, the library has $7,000 to raise by the end of June to meet is goals.


Students imagine peace

Through June 30, student artwork will be on display at Meekins Library. The show is part of the annual peace poster contest sponsored by the Williamsburg Lions Club. Each painting will be accompanied by a student statement on their art and on peace.

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