Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Act for Peace in Gaza

Mark Koenig of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, blogs at Swords Into Plowshares. Here are ways we can Act for Peace in Gaza.

Here is Another Israeli "Accident" at Sea.

This is from Sabeel's Reflection on Gaza.

This is from Shanna O'Brien (M. Div.) Shanna has worked with Naim Ateek of Sabeel in Palestine. She has spoken to our congregation about her work there.

The conflict started long before 1948.

The "conflict" (which is in my opinion a very sanitized term for the situation) began at the end of the first World War. The Zionist movement itself started gaining strength at the end of the 19th Century. They set their sights on the historical lands of Israel. You could say the rest is history, but it is a dark history of manipulation, uprising, back-room deals, and false promises made to everyone involved by those in power.

Basically the British made deals with the Zionists (because they were all European and had $), promising them land in the British Mandate of Palestine for a homeland for Jews. The Zionists took that promise and ran, trying to take over all of the land they could. The Arabs (Palestinians) who were already living there clearly had a problem with this idea. The British promised them that they would have autonomy after the Mandate ended.

Unfortunately though, WWII came along and the British couldn't control the conflicts in the Mandate and the war in Europe so they basically handed the Mandate over to the Zionist authorities (European Jews) who began systematically trying to clear the land they wanted of Arabs. Israel was established in 1948 and they have been trying to systematically clear the land they want (all of historic Israel, including Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights--which are part of Syria ) of Arabs ever since.

This "conflict" has been going on for over 100 years. The Occupation had been going on for more than 40 years. The siege of Gaza has been going on for over 13 months. The massacre of Gaza, this time, has been going on for one week today.

This is not a "conflict". The Israelis are attempting to annihilate an entire people. This particular attack will end with more Palestinians dead and the entire world buying the justification that their deaths were for Israeli security, and that they were within their rights to kill them.

The world will ignore the fact that the Palestinians, being a people under an illegal occupation, are within their rights according to International Law to rise up with force against their occupiers, and continue looking at them as a group of belligerents. The world will continue to ignore the fact that Hamas was elected with democratic elections, overseen by US and other international observers, and as the elected government for the Palestinian people has a right to act with force to protect those people.

Israel, as the occupier, is mandated by International Law to protect the Palestinians and provide them with basic humanitarian supplies...which they do not do. Israel is in direct violation of International Law by firing cluster bombs (which are illegal), by denying access to medical care for wounded, by denying entry of medical equipment and supplies into Gaza, by denying entry of fuel, water, food into Gaza, by targeting hospitals, schools, pharmacies, and places known to be occupied by civilians with their missile attacks.

There is nowhere for civilians to escape in Gaza ... it is the most densely populated are in the world (according to the UNRWA) and 75% are refugees (see below). If a bomb is dropped there, it is dropped in the vicinity of civilians.
This is from Sabeel:
We believe that the real message of the Palestinians to the world is a genuine cry for freedom and liberation. The Palestinians did not initiate the violence. The prolonged illegal Israeli occupation is the real cause for the violence in our area. Israel has shut the door on justice.

The only way that can guarantee a lasting resolution of the conflict is for the United States ' new administration to dare and open the door of justice. We believe that it is the narrow gate of which Jesus Christ spoke. It is the gate that leads to a life of peace and security.

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

This is the narrow gate of justice. This is the basis of international law. The way of military domination, occupation, violence, and wars is the wide gate that leads to destruction; while the gate that seems narrow and hard is the one that leads to justice, peace and security for both sides.

We have tried the wide gate and it has only brought us destruction. It is high time to try the narrow gate of justice so that we might find life.
Presbyterians are
invited to act here.


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