A proud Palestinian who loves his people and stands with them in the midst of suffering, Khalil believes that real peace can come only when Palestinians root out the negative perceptions of the Jewish people that are so pervasive throughout their society. For this reason, Khalil is actively working to educate his fellow Palestinians by showing the good that comes from diversity and religious difference.
Who is Khalil?
Khalil is a Palestinian Christian born and raised in the Gaza Strip. Growing up, Khalil was filled with bitterness towards the Jewish people after witnessing Israeli air strikes in his neighborhood and being taught that Israel was responsible for all of his suffering. As a member of Gaza's small Christian minority, Khalil was frequently harassed for his faith which caused him to struggle with his identity and place in Palestinian society. After the 2008 war between Israel and Hamas, Khalil moved to the West Bank where he was exposed to the power of the gospel for the first time. As he started following Christ, Khalil was able to love his Jewish enemy and remove the bitterness he felt towards those Muslims who had mistreated him.
Khalil knows firsthand how hatred can blind us from seeing the humanity of the other. A proud Palestinian who loves his people and stands with them in the midst of suffering, he nevertheless believes that real peace can come only when Palestinians root out the negative perceptions of the Jewish people that are so pervasive throughout their society. For this reason, Khalil is working to change minds by educating his neighbors to see the good the other -- whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim.
Khalil recently completed his studies at Bethlehem Bible College and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies.
Christians of Gaza
Christians have been living in and around Bethlehem since the time of Jesus. But today, Christians are suffering and disappearing en masse from Bethlehem and other parts of the Palestinian Territories [West Bank and Gaza Strip] due to a number of major challenges including the dire economic and humanitarian situation, massive unemployment rate, severe urban crowding, and lack of access to basic necessities such as water, electricity and sewage treatment. As a minority of less than 1,000, the situation for Gazan Christians is even more precarious. The 2006 election of Hamas in Gaza popularized radical Islamist ideology and emboldened members of the community to harass Christians living there. As a result, Christians have received death threats, seen their churches and businesses attacked, and have even been murdered for their faith.
These conditions cause Christians from Gaza to seek refuge in the West Bank. But because Gaza and the West Bank are not connected geographically, are controlled by different Palestinian political parties (Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank), and are separated by an Israeli security blockade, Gazan Christians can only get to the West Bank by receiving permission from the Israeli military to travel through Israel to get to the West Bank or Jerusalem.
Israel typically approves permits for Gazan Christians requesting to visit the West Bank or Jerusalem for Christian holidays but there is no guarantee that an entire family will be granted permission. It is during these holidays when Christians who are granted permission to leave Gaza, seize upon the opportunity to live permanently in the West Bank where the standard of living is higher and there is a larger number of Christians. For many, the decision is one of survival; but it means leaving behind their family. Our main goal is to help unite these families together. However, during this time we are helping the members of the families who already moved to the West Bank to stabilize their lives so they can host their family in the future."
AN UPDATE ON GAZA EXODUS...
We extend our endless gratitude to every single person who donated to Gaza Exodus this past Christmas season.
A few months have passed since Gaza Exodus ended, so we wanted to give everyone an update on how the families are doing, how the donations are already changing their lives.
In this video, Khalil covers these updates and once again thanks everyone for their generosity.
Articles quoting Khalil:
Articles written by Khalil:
MORE FROM KHALIL
Khalil with Yossi Klien Halevi
On July 11th, 2019, The Philos Project facilitated an opportunity for New York Times Best-Selling Author and Commentator Yossi Klein Halevi to discuss his book "Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor."
"Let Us Go Up" Pilgrimage
In April 2019, the Jewish and Christians calendars aligned such that Passover and Easter were celebrated at the same time.
Dr. Faydra Shapiro, director of the Israel Center for Jewish-Christian Relations led a 4-day pilgrimage from Emmaus to Jerusalem themed "Let Us Go Up." Deputy Director Luke Moon and Khalil Sayegh also joined the group. This pilgrimage - the first of its kind - involved Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Palestinians, Israelis and more who all journeyed together to Mount Zion.
In an event was organized by The Philos Project DC chapter and the International Affairs Association, Khalil spoke about the Christian Palestinian identity and contribution of Palestinian Christians to the Palestinian society. He also focused on how Palestinian Christians can play a role in bringing solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Khalil attended the 2019 Oslo Freedom Forum in Oslo, Norway. He participated in a panel on the situation of religious minorities of the Middle East. He specifically spoke on freedom of religion in the Palestinian Territories
The event featured three days of stage talks from global activists, an exposition of companies and organizations working to advance human rights, a series of panels, workshops on a variety of topics, and more.
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