Palestinian Mormon on Hamas and the Wall

Sahar, my Palestinian Mormon friend, wrote me an email which, with her permission, I am posting here. She talks about the election of Hamas and her adventures scaling the security barrier around Bethlehem. (Sahar is currently a PhD student in Turkey and has previously posted at United Brethren here, here and here.)

I came home during my semester break and have been here in Beit Sahour for about a month. I am getting ready to leave now. It has been nice to visit my family and spend time with them. We were all busy with the elections: my cousin was running and everyone was hoping he would win. However, people all want their own best interest. And even though my cousin is a good educated man many would say to us: “how much will you pay me to vote for him?”

The results of the elections came out with shocking results. I for one expected Hamas to win, but not with that big of a difference. No one, even Hamas, expected Hamas to win…But, everyone who thought Fateh was bad voted for Hamas (not because they loved Hamas, but because they wanted Fateh to loose). Everyone here wanted a change, but no one thought this is the change they would get.

We will see what the coming days will bring to the Palestinian people. Israel and the foreign countries say they will not give money to the Palestinian people anymore, thus people are worried about not getting their pay checks this month. My mom is one of those people…Scary times, we will watch and see…

The situation here is worse too…the wall is complete around Bethlehem…I wanted to go to Jerusalem last Saturday to go to church. I got a document from my branch president and used that to apply for a permit for one day (saturday) so I could get to church. I was denied the permit…they only give permits for medical reasons these days but I thought since it was one day, they will give it to me (I was wrong).

But, did that stop me? No! I did go to Jerusalem. After passing the first checkpoint on the way to Abu-Deis I took a taxi to the wall. I climbed the wall (trying not to fall off). On the other side of the wall there was an Israeli jeep with soldiers stopping everyone and turning them back…I passed right by them and they did not stop me. 10 meters later there was another jeep that was also stopping people. Again I passed as if I was invisible…On the bus, the bus driver said there is a a checkpoint that stops all buses and lets people out…they stopped all buses except ours!!! I made it to church and gave my talk and nothing happened!! Lucky? Maybe…or maybe it was something else…


  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Sahar, I just now read not only this post, but also the prior ones Ronan directed us to. Wow! You are a very impressive young woman. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us.

  2. Great story. I really hope things work out, but can’t say as I personally see a way.

  3. Fascinating take on the Hamas victory.

  4. Eric Russell says:

    This is interesting. But I’m wondering, if the government is democratically elected, can’t the people, via their representatives at least, appeal to the government to comply with the demands of the foreign governments in terms of their denunciations of terrorism? I don’t understand why the people have the power to elect, but seemingly nothing more.

  5. The thing I found interesting was that Hamas ran on a platform of ending corruption and honesty.

    Your stories are always gripping and interesting.

  6. John Taber aka "Fratello Giovanni" says:

    Sahar! How nice to cross paths with you again – we were in BYU 14th Ward together about ten years ago.

  7. Sahar, you show such courage and faith I know the Good Lord is with you. We here in the American church are so pampered temporally and spiritually we spend more time questioning who has the power & authority. You make the answer clear. God has the power and will give it and his authority to anyone who has faith and needs. Like Jesus of old you walk in and out of Jerusalem unseen. You remind me of what they said about the Savior:

    “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”(Mark 1:22)

    The Savior was fair in dealing with men and women. He often deferred their praises and thanks back unto themselves by simply saying, “Your faith has made you whole.”

    Sahar IMHO your faith and example is helping to heal the gap between the men and women in this church. What and why are we always crying about?

  8. I have been a bit slammed of late and was unable to read this when it was first posted. Thank you Ronan for posting this, and thank Sahar for offering it. Truely, thank you.

    This is an amazing window into the situation in Palestine.

  9. I heard a Palestinian interviewee offer a similar theory on an NPR “Morning Edition” interview.

    Kind of like when I hit the “Add My Comment” button and almost immediately wish I hadn’t (only quite a bit worse).

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