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March 24, 2010

A view from the West Bank

Mirko Petricevic

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At a Kitchener, Ontario church, Rev. Dale Finch continues fulfilling a promise he made to people who are living in tough times.

For six months in 2007 and 2008, the retired Lutheran pastor and his wife, Donna, worked with Palestinians living in the West Bank.

He worked as an assistant to the CEO of a hospital in East Jerusalem which serves the Palestinian population. She consulted English language teachers in schools run by Palestinian Lutherans.

During their volunteer stint, the Kitchener couple got to know Palestinians and sympathized with the hardships they endure under Israeli occupation.

So, Dale Finch said, they promised Palestinians to spread the word about their plight.

Since returning home, the Finches have made PowerPoint presentations to about two dozen groups.

At St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kitchener, the retired pastor introduced a movie called The Iron Wall and led a question-and-answer session afterward.

“We’re constantly trying to raise the issue of civil rights and justice and such for the Palestinian people under the occupation,” Finch said. “Trying to force the Israelis, in a small way, to withdraw and recognize (1967) boundaries and create a situation where there can be two states.”

The event is the last in a three-film series highlighting different social justice issues. The series was organized by KAIROS Grand River, the local chapter of the national ecumenical coalition KAIROS.

Finch said the film being screened is a documentary about the effect of the controversial security barrier that snakes between Israelis and West Bank Palestinians.

“I won’t be doing too much of a talk,” Finch said of the event. “I think the film is self-explanatory.”

Rev. Phil Heinze, a member of KAIROS Grand River, said the film series was designed to highlight the wide variety of issues KAIROS is involved in.

The two other films screened during the festival focused on aboriginal and environmental issues.

The first film, called Radiant City, highlighted the issue of urban sprawl.

“It really is a big issue for K-W,” Heinze said. “The farmland around here, we’re gobbling it up like crazy.”

The KW Record, March 20, 2010

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