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Last updated November 24.

Aug. 9, 2010 issue

Peacemaker put love of enemies in action

Gish, author and CPT Palestine worker, dies at 70

By Celeste Kennel-Shank Mennonite Weekly Review

Art Gish, 70, a longtime peace activist and Anabaptist author, died July 28 in a tractor accident on his farm near Athens, Ohio.

Christian Peacemaker Teams member Art Gish blocks the way of an Israeli army tank in the West Bank town of Hebron on Jan. 30, 2003.

Christian Peacemaker Teams member Art Gish blocks the way of an Israeli army tank in the West Bank town of Hebron on Jan. 30, 2003. — Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Wide World Photo

Gish’s career spanned being a conscientious objector, civil rights activist and a Christian Peacemaker Teams worker in Palestine for more than a decade.

“In some ways Art was larger than life,” said Rich Meyer, Gish’s CPT Palestine colleague. “His energy and capacity for active work surpassed people half his age.”

Gish first went to Palestine with CPT in 1995 and served most winters, when he was not farming, in Hebron and At-Tuwani until the past year.

In an iconic image taken by an Associated Press photographer in 2003, Gish stands in front of an Israeli tank in Hebron.

Gish, who sold his own produce at a farmers market in Ohio, had been horrified to see tanks and bulldozers demolishing a produce market, he wrote on CPTnet.

“Vegetables and fruits lay scattered and smashed everywhere, here in this city where many are hungry,” Gish wrote.

He confronted the soldiers, who commanded him to leave.

“Three soldiers aimed their guns at and moved toward a group of Palestinian bystanders,” he wrote. “I quickly jumped in front of the soldiers with my hands raised, and the soldiers immediately left.”

Encountering real people

continued on next page »

Comments

  • In the late '60s my family and I visited the Gish extended family (community) in Kentucky. The building was a geodesic dome. There was a garden. Our sympathies on the passing of Art. I hope to visit with him in heaven. May you continue to bless God. We are trying to do that.

    - Dave Cole (mar 25 at 7:48 p.m.)

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