During the Advent season, my cousin Tim Palmer, college minister at Aldersgate United Methodist (and a pretty talented songwriter) in Abilene, Texas launched ‘The Bethlehem Initiative’. The idea was simple: sell rad t-shirts to raise money benefiting Combatants for Peace. The organic t-shirts were purchased from a sweatshop free factory in Bethlehem, Palestine and printed by No Sweat Apparel.

Combatants for Peace:

The ‘Combatants for Peace’ movement was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom. After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, we have decided to put down our guns, and to fight for peace.

The Tee (from designer Seth Fuller, 21, Abilene):

The imagery of this design is centered around the little girl carrying the balloons. This image comes from actual graffiti on the Separation Wall representing freedom by using the balloons to carry her over it. That is the message of this design. The sword and plow come from Isaiah 2:4. ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.’ The ‘swirls’ represent the winds of change that initiate and carry out this idea of peace.”

I loved this idea and the tees are still being sold at No Sweat. I hope that Tim inspires all of us to continue thinking of creative ways to wage peace in Palestine now that this mess continues.