One hundred tons of bombs are Israel ’s way of saying to the captive citizens of Gaza , Merry Christmas, Happy Eid (feast) and Happy New Year. These “gifts” that were showered from US-made F-16 fighter jets demolished government buildings, mosques, a university, hundreds of homes and snuffed out many lives – among them scores of children. Like many in this part of the world and around the globe my heart aches when I read and see pictures of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip and likewise when I see Israelis killed or injured by Qassam rockets. However, I have a special love for Gaza and its people. Before the strict closure of Gaza , Bethlehem Bible College used to have an extension there. I went to Gaza once every Thursday to teach our students and often I stayed the night there. Interacting with Gazans in class, in church and in the community, I learned much about the kindness and the hospitality of the people of Gaza , both Muslims and Christians. The majority of the people of Gaza are not Hamas militants. They are people like you and I who long to live in peace day in and day out. Regretfully, everyone in the Gaza Strip--men, women, children, civilians and fighters alike—is now feeling the horrible impact and devastation caused by the newest and deadliest Israeli incursion over the Strip in many years.
There is no doubt that the Qassam rockets launched against the western Negev and Ashkelon by Islamic militants linked to Hamas cause great pain and anxiety for many Israelis. Most people agree that Israel , like any other country, has the right to defend itself from outside attacks. However in this unequal conflict between Israel and Hamas , Israel , as usual, has overdone it. When it comes to dealing with its enemies, Israel has a pattern of being extreme. “An eye for an eye” does not satisfy. It has to be more like one hundred eyes for one eye and one hundred teeth for one tooth. When the Israelis attacked Lebanon in June 2006, they sprayed the country with millions of cluster bombs (which are internationally banned) and these bombs continue to kill innocent people even today. What troubles me most in this current war is that most of the victims of this Israeli incursion on Gaza are average people-men, women and children--who are struggling to just to survive under the extreme and harsh conditions that the Israeli siege has created. For 40 years the Gaza Strip has been under Israeli occupation and during the last few years, although the Israelis redeployed their troops from Gaza , they never withdrew the symbols of their dominance and occupation. They continue to control the borders, which mean controlling food, medicine, fuel and goods going in and out of the Strip. In essence, they have turned Gaza into the largest open-air prison in the world.
If the Israeli leaders assume that they can assure the security of their citizens by the might and the power of their superior army and air force, they are mistaken. The outrage caused among the peoples in the Arab and Islamic world by these horrible attacks will most likely blow dark clouds over the skies of Israel or elsewhere in the world.
Israel should learn to negotiate with its neighbors in good faith. Negotiating in good faith means implementing UN resolutions, ending the occupation of the West Bank , opening the borders of the Gaza Strip to the rest of the world and stopping military incursions into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The rise of Hamas and militancy in Gaza is directly related to a vacuum that Israel and the United States have created by dragging their feet in never-ending and fruitless peace negotiations with moderate Palestinians. As long as Israel continues to place obstacles on the path of the peace process and as long as the US continues to allow it to do so, we can expect new outbursts of violence in the Middle East that will cause more horrors and waste more lives on both sides of the political divide.
The Israelis have the right to live in peace and security and so do the people of Gaza . I call on you, friends, to pray for the civilians on both sides who are caught in this nightmare. In addition to praying, let us protest these lethal bombs with a barrage of our own letters to our elected leaders calling for an end to this human tragedy.
By Rev. Alex Awad
Dean of Students, Bethlehem Bible College
December 31, 2008
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En attendant la "levee" du silence et l'ouverture des frontieres ...Prions pour Gaza et ses enfants !
S.V.P essayez de bien transcrire le texte en francais , des mots sautent et sont remplaces par d'autres et a la fin le sens laisse a desirer ...Salutations !
Interestingly, Sabeel are claiming that Israel has no right to defend herself until the Palestinians have a state.
Now, if I put your logic together with Sabeel's, until the Palestinians have a state and weaponry to match Israel's, Hamas has the 'right to resistance' which means they can carry on to fire Qassam rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians.
I suppose we'll just have to wait for Iran to arm Hamas so that they're as strong as Israel. That might include giving Hamas a nuke, just to make things fair.
Then, and only then, Israel will have a right to defend herself, although if the numbers become 'disproportionate' again then Israel will have to let Hamas kill some Jews just to even up the numbers.
At least you'd feel that way if it were happening to you and not to the Palestinian untermenschen. This has nothing to do with a Palestinian state, whatever you or Sabeel might say. It's an unrelated issue.
You'd do well to consider that making excuses for evildoers isn't really good for them. The gospel remedy for everyone is repentance, not excuses or finger-pointing against others.
That means not making excuses for anyone, not Palestinians either when they do evil, as they often do, like everyone else. But along that line, Jesus pronounced woe to those who bind heavy burdens on men that they themselves won't move with a finger. Telling the Palestinians to suck it up when they're robbed and murdered and humiliated at checkpoints in their own land is a pretty heavy burden, which you quite obviously are unwilling to bear yourself, and I don't feel too confident that I'm up for that burden either.
Telling the Israelis to stop robbing, murdering, and tormenting people in order to dispossess them - taking the plank out of their own eyes so they can see better to remove specks from the eyes of others - that doesn't seem so unreasonable.
One thing that's pretty obvious about Israel is that they are wholly of the spirit of Lamech, the sixth from Cain, always making sure to be avenged 77-fold. It's pretty amazing to see people who call themselves Christians or Jews telling anyone that that is OK. I don't get the impression from my Bible, especially from passages like Romans 12, that Lamech is a good example to follow. Don't you get the idea that following Lamech might be taking the broad and easy way that leads to destruction? Don't you think that when a friend sees you take that road he ought to take your keys if he can, instead of terlling you how right you are?
Peter Atwood stands up for Hamas: "Seismicshock, Israel has no right to defend itself until it stops oppressing and robbing others, just like if I go in your house and steal and trash things day by day I have no right to defend myself against you."
Hung by your own words!
Les Palestiniens ont un etat qui leur a ete pris par des forces malefiques qui sont les sionistes et leurs allies ...La force a toujours etait inegale : cailloux contre F16 , la terre reviendra tot ou tard a ses enfants qui en sont les proprietaires legaux devant Dieu et les hommes !
Hope all is well with you.
A couple of questions:
1.You speak of unequality. Only so many Jews were killed and the Israeli kill many more. Shall we apply that on time as well and allow the Israelis to shoot into Gaza for 8 years? Not as a response to being attacked but just because they want to kill civilians?
2. You complain about Israel is continuing to guerd its borders and you say it is a big prison. does not a country have a right to protect its boder against neighbors that want to hurt it? If that logic is right then every country that has army on its borders are criminals.
3. I am sure many of the people of Gaza are very nice people. Why don't you mention the killings that are done by Hammas of Fatah people even in the midst of this war? Some of the innocent ones being killed are at the hands of Hammas.
4. You live in an area that enjoyes relative peace and prosperity, and I am glad for that. do you think it has to do with that fact that your government (the Palestinain Authority) negotiets with Israel and is not allowing attacks on Israel? Isn't that a sign that if Hammas and other organizations would not attack Israel from Gaza, Israel would not attack them?
4.Your facts are wrong, the UN said that only 25% of the ones that were killed in Gaza were civilians. Did you inflate your numbers on purpose?
5. Do you think the Hammas had/has good reasons for sending rockets into Israel for the last 8 years?
You forgot that Barak offered Arafat everything in 2000, it was the Palestinians who are dragging their feet....rejecting Israel's right to exist over and over again.
It has been the Palestinians who have dragged their feet since 1948, having many chances to live their lives peacably with Israel, but choosing to attack instead.
DO you know history? Or do I have to remind you of how many missed oppurtunities the Palestinians have had to be at peace with Israel.
Your accusations that Israel is dragging their feet is unfair and inaccurate. Its the Palestinians who are dragging their feet, even as modern as 2000 when they rejected having everything offered to them.
First of all, I think it is unfair to hint that Pastor Alex did no read or does not know history, because he has written and lectured about the Israeli and Arab conflict at numerous events, and because he has done his study about the history of the conflict (you can read that in his book: Palestinian Memories) and he has done that accurately (documents, figures, maps, etc).
I think the 'history' you are referring to is not accurate. The idea that the Palestinians have missed many opporunities to make peace with Israel is a myth. Let me give you two examples referring to the two years that you have mentioned:
1) 1947-8: The united nations offered to divide the land between Arabs and Jews (The Partition Plan 1947): According to that plan the Jews were granted 54% of the land; while they actually owned only 7% of the land and were only 35% of the population of Palestine. Looking back at this event some would say: "well the Palestinians should have agreed, because that was more than they will ever dream of having". However, if you were an Arab, brother Sean, in 1947, with aspirations of having an independant country, would you agree to these terms?!!
2) The 95% of the Camp David 2000, is not accruate; this is too long to explain here but it is enough to mention that the Israelies were not willing to give up their hold on the water resources in the West Bank and they were not willing to dismantle the blocks of settlements with thier connecting roads that chocked the Palestinian cities and villages. you can read about it Pastor Alex's book Palestinian Memories Pages: 164-172.
I'm not saying that Palestinians didn't make their mistakes and unwise discisions. What I'm saying is that it is unfair to blame them for not accepting what the Israelies did NOT realy offer.