Friday, July 14

MCC Palestine Update #124

MCC Palestine Update #124

14 July 2006

Dear Friends,

The situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate as Israeli forces escalate their offensive against the Palestinian people. Only the night before last, Israeli military shelling led to the destruction of the facilities of the Palestinian Authority foreign ministry as well as the home of a Palestinian family in Gaza City leading to the deaths of nine Palestinians, including seven children, all from the same family. MCC continues to monitor the situation and maintain contact with our partners in Gaza. We continue to hear from our friends there that this recent campaign by the Israeli military is having devastating effects across the Gaza Strip. Within the past week, the Israeli military began another phase of their offensive, moving into the regions of southern Gaza, where MCC partner the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA; http://www.palnet.com/~cfta/) operates, positioning itself in central Gaza in a manner that cuts the Gaza Strip in half. And early yesterday morning, following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese group Hezbollah, Israeli forces have imposed a sea and air blockade on Lebanon, fired on the airport in Beirut and the main road leading to Damascus, and shelled targets in southern Lebanon that has already led to the deaths of over sixty Lebanese civilians.

The targeting of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure (electricity, water, etc.) only hurts the civilian population and is a completely unacceptable response by the state of Israel. With much of the water supply and sewage system dependent on electricity, this damage to civilian infrastructure raises serious medical concerns and unmasks this campaign of collective punishment of the Palestinian people—actions clearly in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israeli is a signatory—as a predictable and uncreative display of Israeli military might over and against 1.5 million poor Palestinians (eighty percent of whom live in poverty). And with some eighty Palestinians killed, Gaza's children severely traumatized, and half of Gaza's population without reliable electricity since Operation “Summer Rain” began two and a half weeks ago, the disproportionality of the Israeli military response only underscores its unacceptability.

The main reason that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is such an issue is because the people there live as prisoners in what is essentially the world's largest open-air prison. Since Israel’s “disengagement” last year, the Palestinian people have had no control over movement in and out of Gaza, no control over borders (land, sea, or air), no open access to needed services and viable economic opportunity, and live constantly under the threat of Israeli military incursions, shelling, and “targeted assassinations” that leave entire Palestinian families murdered in the streets. As the occupying power, Israel has certain obligations under international law in regards to the Palestinian people. Israel has completely shirked this responsibility and left the burden of responding to the needs of one of the most densely populated areas on earth—the great majority of whom being refugees—to the international community, creating a situation that does not provide the opportunity for a prosperous future but only just prevents Gaza from slipping into humanitarian disaster on a daily basis. With the reality of this context in mind, one can begin to understand why Gaza was in such a devastated state immediately after the Israeli military began its offensive and why humanitarian access is critical at this point.

Here are some recent MCC news releases on the unfolding situation (for the most part, these links can also be found on MCC’s Palestine website at http://www.mcc.org/palestine/ along with links to other resources; the link below to a report by aid agencies in the OPT includes a statement to which MCC signed):

Helping Palestinian children and families cope with trauma
Tim Shenk
July 13, 2006
http://www.mcc.org/news/news/2006/2006-07-13_gaza.html

Aid organizations call for access to Gaza civilians
July 12, 2006
http://www.mcc.org/news/news/2006/2006-07-12_gazaaccess.html

Aid Agencies in OPT: Civilians in Gaza in Need of Protection
July 7, 2006
http://english.wafa.ps/body.asp?id=6796

MCC monitoring situation in Lebanon, workers safe
July 12, 2006
http://www.mcc.org/news/news/2006/2006-07-12_lebanon.html

MCC monitoring deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza
Gladys Terichow
June 30, 2006
http://www.mcc.org/news/news/2006/2006-06-30_gaza.html

Prayer for Gaza
Esther Epp-Thiessen
July 5, 2006
http://www.mcc.org/news/news/2006/2006-07-05_gazaprayer.html

In Canada - Letter to the Prime Minister
July 5, 2006
http://www.mcc.org/news/news/2006/2006-07-05_lettertoPM.html

Also, here is one opportunity to offer your support. It is one of MCC’s Global Family Programs in Khan Younis in southern Gaza where the Culture and Free Thought Association works with the children of the refugee camps:

MCC Global Family Programs in Palestine
Shoroq wa-Amal (Sunrise and Hope) Children's Club
http://www.mcc.org/globalfamily/projects/middleeast/palestine/
shoroq.html

MCC continues to monitor the situation in conversation with our partners, seeking effective ways to respond. And we continue to pray for a justpeace for all the people of this land.

God of love,

We know you hear the cries of those who long for peace and for security. And so today we join our voices with those of the people of Palestine and Israel.

We pray for Israelis. We pray for the families of those soldiers who were killed last week — may they be comforted. We pray for Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the soldier who was captured — may he be released in safety. And we pray for Israeli government leaders who are planning their response — may they seek diplomatic rather than further military solutions to the current crisis. We pray that they might end their violence and address the underlying causes of the conflict. We pray for all Israelis — may they know and experience true security.

We pray for Palestinians, and in particular, we pray for the people of Gaza. We pray for the children and young people — may their fears be calmed. We pray for the women — may there be food, water and medicine to care for their families. We pray for the men — may there be safety and protection for their loved ones. We pray for the militants and others who choose violent ways to call attention to their plight — may they learn the power of nonviolence. We pray for all Palestinians — that their cries for justice may be heard.

O God, your son Jesus once walked the beautiful and broken land of Palestine. May his spirit of peace touch the lives of all those who call this land their home today.

In Christ’s name,

Amen


Peace,

Timothy Seidel

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Christi and Timothy Seidel
Peace Development Workers
Mennonite Central Committee - Palestine


Attachments and Links:
· “Christian Churches in Jerusalem: Stop the violence and pursue a just peace!,” Maan News Agency, 8 July 2006
· Simon Tisdall, “Bush's indifference drives conflict,” The Guardian, 14 July 2006
· Ahdaf Soueif, “Only sanctions will stop this brutal campaign,” The Guardian, 13 July 2006
· Tanya Reinhart, “What are they fighting for,” Occupation Magazine, 13 July 2006
· “Palestinian injuries suggest Israel is using chemical weapons in Gaza,” Maan News Agency, 11 July 2006
· Ismail Haniyeh, “Aggression Under False Pretenses,” Washington Post, 11 July 2006
· Gideon Levy, “Who started?,” Haaretz, 9 July 2006
· Ghassan Khatib, “Consequences of failed politics,” Haaretz, 6 July 2006
· Gideon Levy, “A black flag,” Haaretz, 3 July 2006
· Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, “Two Invasions, One Reasoning,” Annadwa.org, 30 June 2006

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Maan News Agency
Christian Churches in Jerusalem: Stop the violence and pursue a just peace!

8 July 2006

"Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene.” (Isaiah 59: 14-16)

The Israeli violence and aggression of this present moment is without proportion or justification.
An Israeli soldier was taken prisoner in combat. A Jewish settler was kidnapped and killed. As a response, Israeli forces destroy three bridges and a power station, causing millions of dollars in damage and leaving up to 750 000 people without electricity or water in Gaza.

Moreover, Israeli forces abducted 84 people, among them 7 Cabinet Ministers and 21 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. This comes after a week in which 48 Palestinians were killed, including 27 innocent civilians. The horrific statistic includes nine children and a pregnant woman.

Today, we Christian heads of the Churches in Jerusalem, say," Events in our land are against law and reason. It is our duty as religious leaders to keep saying this to the authorities. It is against law and reason that you remain on and you keep us on the ways of death. “The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene. (Isaiah 59: 16)

We condemn the abduction of the Israeli soldier, the killing of the settler youth, as we condemn the daily abduction and killing of dozens of Palestinians as well as the incarceration of thousands of them in prisons. All human beings, Israelis and Palestinians, have the same dignity and must be treated equally. All violence and aggression against human dignity, whether Israeli or Palestinian must stop.

Our suffering, both Israeli and Palestinian, will end when the truth on both sides is recognized. The right of Israel to have security must be recognized. At the same time, there must be recognition that the core of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians arises from the deprivation of freedom to the Palestinian people. We firmly support the fight against terrorism, but we remind equally firmly that this fight begins by eradicating the root cause of all violence, which is the deprivation of the freedom of the Palestinian people.

It is against law and reason to keep following the way of death. The moral imperative is clear. Stop all the violence. Stop the killing. Protect the life and dignity of people. Begin negotiations. Break this murderous chain of violence in which we are all ensnared. And listen to God's call, "Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it. " (Psalm 33:15)

Things have gone too far. We call on the international community to intervene and insist on a diplomatic solution to this conflict. All authorities must change course, and with unflinching international pressure and presence, must be negotiations in to reach a just and definitive peace. "What does the Lord require of you...To do Justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God." ( Micah 6:8)

Please read more at http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=12921

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The Guardian
Bush's indifference drives conflict Simon Tisdall
14 July 2006

Israel's assault on Lebanon, following Hizbullah's cross-border raid on Wednesday and weeks of unremitting bloodshed in Gaza, brought demands yesterday for international action to contain the crisis and mediate an end to the fighting. But the US, with its unmatched influence over Israel and as self-appointed guardian of the Middle East peace process, appeared reluctant to intervene.

Lebanon's appeal for the UN security council to step in is supported by most Arab governments and by France, Lebanon's former colonial master and the current security council president.

But the council has been vainly trying for a fortnight to agree a resolution on Gaza, with the US threatening to use its veto in defence of Israel. A consensus on the more complicated, fast-moving crisis now engulfing Lebanon is thus unlikely.

Other international bodies with pretensions to global peacemaking, such as Nato and the EU - part of the Middle East "quartet" - are currently reduced to the role of concerned bystanders. Russia says it will table the issue at this weekend's St Petersburg G8 summit. But that may only serve to underscore international divisions.

George Bush's administration warned yesterday of the dangers of destabilising Lebanon. But it otherwise made no serious attempt to curb Israel's offensive. Its spokesmen stuck instead to their favoured hands-off formula: "We are urging restraint on both sides [while] recognising Israel's right to defend itself," said a senior US official accompanying the president in Germany.

Please read more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1820121,00.html

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The Guardian
Only sanctions will stop this brutal campaign
Ahdaf Soueif

13 July 2006

Yet nothing in the official world of politics reflects the popular will. Israel continues to enjoy favoured-nation status with a Europe that starves the Palestinians for electing Hamas. We, the citizens, busy ourselves raising funds for medical equipment, collecting books and signing appeals while the Israeli army picks off a few kids in Gaza, blows off a few limbs in Jenin, knocks down a few houses in Nablus - and offers funds and freshly stolen West Bank land to Jewish settlers recently evacuated from Gaza.

Three hundred British Jews have signed a letter strongly condemning Israel's actions. But we are all made complicit by the failure of our governments to act to stop Israel's barbarous campaign against the Palestinians. British Arabs feel doubly compromised as the world registers, yet again, the spineless behaviour of the Arab governments.

Since the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Palestinian fighters, Israel has killed 60 Palestinians. The Gaza Strip is virtually inaccessible to foreigners, and there are reports Israel will soon close off the West Bank as well. Yesterday, in what appears to be an attempt to take the heat off Gaza, Hizbullah in south Lebanon attacked Israeli border posts and captured two soldiers. It is only a matter of time before things escalate. At the heart of it all is Israel's persecution of the Palestinians.

It's time to help the Palestinians not just survive within the parameters of Israeli policy, but to save them from Israel's brutal plan; to save Israel from itself; and to save the world from the effects of the terrible sorrow and anger that is the response of millions to the Palestinian anguish. It's time to make Israel face up to what it is and what it wants to become. It's time for sanctions.

Please read more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,,1819072,00.html

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Occupation Magazine
What are they fighting for
Tanya Reinhart

13 July 2006

Whatever may be the fate of the captive soldier Gilad Shalit, the Israeli army’s war in Gaza is not about him. As senior security analyst Alex Fishman widely reported, the army was preparing for an attack months earlier and was constantly pushing for it, with the goal of destroying the Hamas infrastructure and its government…Since ending the occupation is the one thing Israel is not willing to consider, the option promoted by the army is breaking the Palestinians by devastating brutal force. They should be starved, bombarded, terrorized with sonic booms for months, until they understand that rebelling is futile, and accepting prison life is their only hope for staying alive. Their elected political system, institutions and police should be destroyed. In Israel`s vision, Gaza should be ruled by gangs collaborating with the prison wards. The Israeli army is hungry for war. It would not let concerns for captive soldiers stand in its way. Since 2002 the army has argued that an “operation” along the lines of “Defensive Shield” in Jenin was also necessary in Gaza. Exactly a year ago, on 15 July (before the Disengagement), the army concentrated forces on the border of the Strip for an offensive of this scale on Gaza. But then the USA imposed a veto. Rice arrived for an emergency visit that was described as acrimonious and stormy, and the army was forced to back down (3). Now, the time has finally came. With the Islamophobia of the American Administration at a high point, it appears that the USA is prepared to authorize such an operation, on condition that it not provoke a global outcry with excessively-reported attacks on civilians.(4) With the green light for the offensive given, the army`s only concern is public image. Fishman reported this Tuesday that the army is worried that `what threatens to burry this huge military and diplomatic effort` is reports of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Hence, the army would take care to let some food into Gaza. (5) From this perspective, it is necessary to feed the Palestinians in Gaza so that it would be possible to continue to kill them undisturbed.

Please read more at http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=15099

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Maan News Agency
Palestinian injuries suggest Israel is using chemical weapons in Gaza

11 July 2006

The Palestinian ministry of health revealed on Monday that the Israeli army has used a new type of explosive in its offensive on the Gaza Strip. These explosives contain toxics and radioactive materials which burn and tear the victim's body from the inside and leave long term deformations.

The ministry called upon the international community and the humanitarian organizations to send an international medical community to examine the victims and confirm the truth about these banned weapons that Israel appears to be using.

The ministry showed that most of the injuries which the hospitals receive result from huge explosions which cause burning and severing of limbs, including the inner parts of the body. This causes long term deformations.

It is added that doctors in Gaza have been forced to amputate limbs of at least 12 injured Palestinians as a result of injuries sustained in the current Israeli offensive on the Strip.

Please read more at http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=13044

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Washington Post
Aggression Under False Pretenses
Ismail Haniyeh

11 July 2006

As Americans commemorated their annual celebration of independence from colonial occupation, rejoicing in their democratic institutions, we Palestinians were yet again besieged by our occupiers, who destroy our roads and buildings, our power stations and water plants, and who attack our very means of civil administration. Our homes and government offices are shelled, our parliamentarians taken prisoner and threatened with prosecution.

The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of fair and free elections held early this year. It is the explosive follow-up to a five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare directed by the United States and Israel. The stated intention of that strategy was to force the average Palestinian to "reconsider" her vote when faced with deepening hardship; its failure was predictable, and the new overt military aggression and collective punishment are its logical fulfillment. The "kidnapped" Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago.

In addition to removing our democratically elected government, Israel wants to sow dissent among Palestinians by claiming that there is a serious leadership rivalry among us. I am compelled to dispel this notion definitively. The Palestinian leadership is firmly embedded in the concept of Islamic shura , or mutual consultation; suffice it to say that while we may have differing opinions, we are united in mutual respect and focused on the goal of serving our people. Furthermore, the invasion of Gaza and the kidnapping of our leaders and government officials are meant to undermine the recent accords reached between the government party and our brothers and sisters in Fatah and other factions, on achieving consensus for resolving the conflict. Yet Israeli collective punishment only strengthens our collective resolve to work together.

As I inspect the ruins of our infrastructure -- the largess of donor nations and international efforts all turned to rubble once more by F-16s and American-made missiles -- my thoughts again turn to the minds of Americans. What do they think of this?

They think, doubtless, of the hostage soldier, taken in battle -- yet thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, remain in Israeli jails for resisting the illegal, ongoing occupation that is condemned by international law. They think of the pluck and "toughness" of Israel, "standing up" to "terrorists." Yet a nuclear Israel possesses the 13th-largest military force on the planet, one that is used to rule an area about the size of New Jersey and whose adversaries there have no conventional armed forces. Who is the underdog, supposedly America's traditional favorite, in this case?

I hope that Americans will give careful and well-informed thought to root causes and historical realities, in which case I think they will question why a supposedly "legitimate" state such as Israel has had to conduct decades of war against a subject refugee population without ever achieving its goals.

Please read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/10/AR2006071001108.html

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Haaretz
Who started?
Gideon Levy

9 July 2006

Israel left Gaza only partially, and in a distorted manner. The disengagement plan, which was labeled with fancy titles like "partition" and "an end to the occupation," did result in the dismantling of settlements and the Israel Defense Forces' departure from Gaza, but it did almost nothing to change the living conditions for the residents of the Strip. Gaza is still a prison and its inhabitants are still doomed to live in poverty and oppression. Israel closes them off from the sea, the air and land, except for a limited safety valve at the Rafah crossing. They cannot visit their relatives in the West Bank or look for work in Israel, upon which the Gazan economy has been dependent for some 40 years. Sometimes goods can be transported, sometimes not. Gaza has no chance of escaping its poverty under these conditions. Nobody will invest in it, nobody can develop it, nobody can feel free in it. Israel left the cage, threw away the keys and left the residents to their bitter fate. Now, less than a year after the disengagement, it is going back, with violence and force.

What could otherwise have been expected? That Israel would unilaterally withdraw, brutally and outrageously ignoring the Palestinians and their needs, and that they would silently bear their bitter fate and would not continue to fight for their liberty, livelihood and dignity? We promised a safe passage to the West Bank and didn't keep the promise. We promised to free prisoners and didn't keep the promise. We supported democratic elections and then boycotted the legally elected leadership, confiscating funds that belong to it, and declaring war on it. We could have withdrawn from Gaza through negotiations and coordination, while strengthening the existing Palestinian leadership, but we refused to do so. And now, we complain about "a lack of leadership?" We did everything we could to undermine their society and leadership, making sure as much as possible that the disengagement would not be a new chapter in our relationship with the neighboring nation, and now we are amazed by the violence and hatred that we sowed with our own hands…

We started. We started with the occupation, and we are duty-bound to end it, a real and complete ending. We started with the violence. There is no violence worse than the violence of the occupier, using force on an entire nation, so the question about who fired first is therefore an evasion meant to distort the picture. After Oslo, too, there were those who claimed that "we left the territories," in a similar mixture of blindness and lies.

Gaza is in serious trouble, ruled by death, horror and daily difficulties, far from the eyes and hearts of Israelis. We are only shown the Qassams. We only see the Qassams. The West Bank is still under the boot of occupation, the settlements are flourishing, and every limply extended hand for an agreement, including that of Ismail Haniyeh, is immediately rejected. And after all this, if someone still has second thoughts, the winning answer is promptly delivered: "They started." They started and justice is on our side, while the fact is that they did not start and justice is not with us.

Please read more at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/736009.html

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Haaretz
Consequences of failed politics
Ghassan Khatib

6 July 2006

The dramatic Palestinian attack on an Israeli military post on the border with the Gaza Strip did not come as much of a surprise to anybody. On the contrary, it represented the gradual and consistent escalation of violence that has been witnessed since the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the subsequent siege that was imposed on Gazans.

And while, as usual, both sides have been blaming each other, the overwhelming weight of responsibility lies at Israel's door. Israeli violence, not just in the Gaza Strip but in the West Bank, has been steadily increasing. Assassinations and arrests often ending in killings, often of civilians, have been increasing and a months-long campaign of constant artillery fire has blighted Gazans' lives.

This violence has come in tandem with an Israeli siege that almost hermetically sealed off Gaza from the outside world and shut the door in the face of any chance that Gazans' lives and livelihoods might improve after the withdrawal. On the contrary, according to all relevant international agencies, especially the World Bank, the siege caused a sharp economic deterioration and poverty and unemployment rose dramatically as a result. The siege, furthermore, was in direct contravention to bilateral agreements that sought to avoid exactly such an eventuality.

Israel wanted to have its cake and eat it too. Starting from the time of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Israel did not want to continue with the implementation of the peace process, and since then Israel has shown no interest in bilateral negotiations on the basis of international legality. Instead, successive Israeli governments have pursued a unilateral strategy, a strategy that is about Israeli behavior to achieve Israeli interests with no regard for international legality and certainly not for the Palestinian side. At the same time, Israel expected the other side to abide by the rules of a game that was created by the peace process.

Please read more at http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1808456,00.html

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Haaretz
A black flag
Gideon Levy

3 July 2006

A black flag hangs over the "rolling" operation in Gaza. The more the operation "rolls," the darker the flag becomes. The "summer rains" we are showering on Gaza are not only pointless, but are first and foremost blatantly illegitimate. It is not legitimate to cut off 750,000 people from electricity. It is not legitimate to call on 20,000 people to run from their homes and turn their towns into ghost towns. It is not legitimate to penetrate Syria's airspace. It is not legitimate to kidnap half a government and a quarter of a parliament.

A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization. The harsher the steps, the more monstrous and stupid they become, the more the moral underpinnings for them are removed and the stronger the impression that the Israeli government has lost its nerve. Now one must hope that the weekend lull, whether initiated by Egypt or the prime minister, and in any case to the dismay of Channel 2's Roni Daniel and the IDF, will lead to a radical change…

Collective punishment is illegitimate and it does not have a smidgeon of intelligence. Where will the inhabitants of Beit Hanun run? With typical hardheartedness the military reporters say they were not "expelled" but that it was "recommended" they leave, for the benefit, of course, of those running for their lives. And what will this inhumane step lead to? Support for the Israeli government? Their enlistment as informants and collaborators for the Shin Bet? Can the miserable farmers of Beit Hanun and Beit Lahia do anything about the Qassam rocket-launching cells? Will bombing an already destroyed airport do anything to free the soldier or was it just to decorate the headlines?

Did anyone think about what would have happened if Syrian planes had managed to down one of the Israeli planes that brazenly buzzed their president's palace? Would we have declared war on Syria? Another "legitimate war"? Will the blackout of Gaza bring down the Hamas government or cause the population to rally around it? And even if the Hamas government falls, as Washington wants, what will happen on the day after? These are questions for which nobody has any real answers. As usual here: Quiet, we're shooting. But this time we are not only shooting. We are bombing and shelling, darkening and destroying, imposing a siege and kidnapping like the worst of terrorists and nobody breaks the silence to ask, what the hell for, and according to what right?

Please read more at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=733427

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Annadwa.org
Two Invasions, One Reasoning
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb

30 June 2006

What is the common denominator between the decision of the Israeli military to invade the West Bank in March 2002, and their decision to invade Gaza this week? One could certainly find many similarities between “Operation Defensive Shield” that brought the Israeli troupes into Ramallah, Bethlehem and other West Bank cities in 2002 and “Operation Summer Rains” that got the Israeli military this week into Gaza. One of the most important things is not what both operations are trying to tell the Palestinians, but what they are trying to hide. What both have in common is that they are trying to distract the attention of the Israeli population and the world at large from two very important peace offers…

On June 27th 2006, the diverse Palestinian parties including Hamas announced reaching an agreement based on the “Prisoners’ Document” calling for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, limiting the resistance within these borders and recognizing the previous accords. It seems to me that Israel does not fear anything as much as a “peace offer”. The two invasions had therefore the aim of creating such stormy conditions, so that diplomacy can continue only to focus on managing an escalating conflict rather than on seizing the opportunity and momentum for a true peacemaking. In both contexts, the world was arguing “only if” the Arabs will state their willingness to peace with Israel so clearly; and “only if” the Palestinians will speak with one voice for a two state solution side by side with Israel, then Israel will have no excuses. Yet when the Arab states spoke in clear text and when the Palestinians articulated their goals in a unified manner, there was no one listening because Israel had just created such a massive invasion to keep everyone busy enough so as not to concentrate on the real issue of reaching a comprehensive peace but rather on defusing a waging conflict. It is thus high time to refocus again by combining the offer presented at the Peace Summit in 2002 and the agreement reached in Gaza this week, which should be brought back into attention and presented on the table. There is a last chance for peace waiving at the horizon, if there is a will by the international community to grab it.

Please read more at http://www.annadwa.org/articles/two_invasions.htm

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2 comments:

FaithfulServant said...

I have read your update and as a Christian am ashamed by what I read. After the fate which befell the Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, how dare a Christian organization publish the words of the leader of Hamas who openly calls for the murder of Jews in the Hamas Charter. How dare a Christian organization glorify Sabeel and Naim Ateek who advocates a replacement theology that denigrates the Jews and replaces them his conception of who the chosen people should be. That is not Naim Ateek's job, that is the Lord's. Is Replacement Theology the mandate of the Menonnite Central Committee? I came across an article recently, which I'll link to below, which discusses the virus of anti-semitsm that has plagued the Christian church the Crusades, the Inquisition right up to the Nazi Holocaust and how theories espoused by Ateek have led to the death of Jews. http://www.standwithus.com/news_post.asp?NPI=489

It is time for all of us to look into our Christian heart of hearts and say to ourselves, can we honestly bear witness to our Lord Jesus Christ while we raise the banner of Hamas and Hezbollah whose goal is not peace or well-being amongst peoples but rather the elimination of the Jewish people? Can we honestly call ourselves Christians and state that Israelis do not want to live in peace in the region and that if the Palestinians were to lay down their arms, the Israelis would lay their arms down? Since the Palestinians were given autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza in 2000, Christians have suffered like they have suffered in all Muslim countries. We must be honest with ourselves and state that Israel is the one country in the Middle East where we can practice in freedom as Christians without payment of additional taxes or as lesser believers. Together we must pray for peace in the Middle East but in doing so, we must soften the hearts of those who find comfort in the beliefs of Hamas and Hezbollah. During the 1930's, Hitler was able to seduce the people of Germany by blaming their ills on the Jews, providing excellent health and educational services (although with a heavy anti-semitic bent) and raising the banner of Aryan nationhood. I shudder to think that there are Christians out there who are standing with those who's philosophies and methods of operation so mirror that of the Nazis. It's time the MCC stopped vilifying our Jewish brothers and learned to love them.

FaithfulServant said...

More news from today indicating that contrary to the perverted views of the MCC, Muslims in the Middle East are out to hurt Christians including Hezbollah who appear to be heroes to members of the MCC:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/world/middleeast/28refugees.html?_r=1&hp&e&oref=slogin

The MCC should be teaching the Palestinians to love their children more than they hate the Jews and to learn to live together in peace. In pandering to Sabeel, the MCC is bearing false witness == something for which it should be ashamed.