Victimizing the Victims

“Only an internal revolution can have the power to heal our people of their murderous sickness of causeless hatred…It is bound to bring complete ruin upon us.  Only then will the old and young in our land realize how great was our responsibility to those miserable Arab refugees in whose towns we have settled Jews who were brought here from afar; whose homes we have inherited, whose fields we not sow and harvest; the fruits of whose gardens, orchards and vineyards we gather; and in whose cities that we have robbed we put up houses of education, charity, and prayer, and while we babble and rave about being the ‘People of the Book’ and the ‘light of the nations…” ~ Nathan Chofshi (Secular Zionist Pacifist and Russian Jewish writer who migrated to Palestine in 1908.  Chofshi witnessed firsthand the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs)

“The blood of Abraham, God’s father of the Chosen, still flows in the veins of the Arab, Jew, and Christian, and too much of it has been spilled in grasping for the inheritance of the revered Patriarch in the Middle East.  The spilled blood in the Holy Land still cries out to God – an anguished cry for peace.”  The Blood of Abraham, Jimmy Carter

gaza-woman-blood

A week ago I watched a program on the Jewish television network with a rabbi teaching the Kabbalah theme of all people being interconnected.  He described it as a hologram with atoms and molecules interwoven.  He summarized his teaching with, “all it boils down to, is ‘love your neighbor as yourself.”  The program following the Kabbalah teaching was a Jewish documentary regarding Muslim speakers from Palestine at California universities making their case against the “Zionists.”  The Jewish students remarked that the message the Arab Muslim speakers were giving to American students was propaganda as most of the Muslim’s complaints about Zionists being racist and arrogant weren’t true.  There was an uneasy dichotomy as I mentally compared the teachings of the mystical branch of Judaism with Zionism.  As I was listening, I remembered an e-mail sent out by a woman at my church regarding U.S. Christian support of the state of Israel after an episode of violence between Palestine and Israel.  Her e-mail requested prayers for Israel.  I had just viewed a news report on the violence and there was mention of Israeli soldiers stating they intermittently “mow the grass” on the Palestine side which refers to using machine gun fire to kill any Palestinians they can see through the gun’s scope.  I replied to her e-mail emphasizing praying for peace, and not explicitly supporting Israel because Israel was not blameless.

I knew if there were numerous Palestinians speaking out against Zionists at American universities there had to be much more to this issue.  Subsequently, I began researching the Palestinian/Israel conflict from various sources to come to a better understanding of the conflict.

Many Christians support the State of Israel due to the Abraham covenant as stated in Genesis 17:6-8: “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.  I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.  I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Of course, many Jews did not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, who promised an everlasting kingdom with a spiritual temple which would be built with Jesus himself as the cornerstone.  The “everlasting covenant” refers to those who follow God’s son, and the “everlasting possession” is the spiritual residence on Mount Zion and the New Jerusalem.  The Promised Land in the Old Testament was a physical place which was a type or shadow for the spiritual kingdom as mentioned in the New Testament.

Revelation 3:12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never will they leave it.  I will write on them the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and will also write on them my new name.

Revelation 21:1-4 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Matthew 21:42-43 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’  Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

The Jews resided in the land of Palestine 414 years, while the Arab invaders of the Canaanites in Palestine in the 7th century made Moslem converts with intermarriages with the natives and subsequently settled onto the land for over 1200 years.   The creation of Zionism was founded by diaspora European Jews who wanted a centralized place they could live so began purchasing land in Palestine around 1918, but had settlements even earlier.  Before Zionist involvement, the small percentage of Jews in the area lived harmoniously with the Muslims, Christians and Druze.  At the very beginning of the Zionist movement the intent was to entirely dispossess the Palestinians at whatever means necessary.  Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism: “We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in transit countries, while denying it employment in our own country.”  Additionally, the purpose of the Jewish National Fund was to “redeem the land of Palestine as the inalienable possession of the Jewish People.”  In 1919, America sent the King-Crane Commission for a 6 week evaluation of the Jewish/Palestine conflict and concluded the Jews intent was to have complete dispossession of all present non-Jewish inhabitants. In 1921, Dr. Eder (Zionist Commission) told the Court of Inquiry, “there can only be one National Home in Palestine, and that a Jewish one, and no equality in the partnership between Jews and Arabs, but a Jewish one, and no equality in the partnership between Jews and Arabs, but a Jewish preponderance as soon as the numbers of the race are sufficiently increased.”  “He then asked that only Jews should be allowed to bear arms” (Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest).

British Involvement

In November of 1917, the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, after discussing with the British cabinet and consulting Jewish leaders, sent a letter to Lord Rothschild (known as the Balfour Declaration) in support of the creation of the Zionist intent to move Jews back to their “homeland” in Palestine.   Edward Said [quoting Balfour] in The Question of Palestine regarding the Balfour Declaration, “The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant (the Anglo French Declaration of 1918 promising the Arabs of the former Ottoman colonies that as a reward for supporting the Allies they could have independence) is even more flagrant in the case of the independent nation of Palestine than in that of the independent nation of Syria.  For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…The four powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land,”

In July of 1922 the Mandate for Palestine was implemented by the British (administered by the League of Nations), and with pressure from the Arabs, the British began limiting land acquisition by Jews.  In 1940, even stricter restrictions were implemented by the Land Transfer Regulation. Due to the UN General Assembly’s resolution “resolution to partition Palestine on November 11, 1947, the British terminated the Mandate effective on May 15, 1948.  The day before, the Zionists proclaimed the State of Israel.

Deuteronomy 10:17-19 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.  He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.  And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Ethnic Cleansing?

The European Jews considered the mostly Bedouin Arabs as barbarians, so a foundation of racism based upon Jewish superiority was established upon their arrival to Palestine.  Of course, there must have been extreme culture shock for those Jews coming from Europe to Palestine as overtly evidenced by the photos below of Arab Bedouins compared with European Jews.  A good comparison can be made of the significant cultural differences when Europeans arrived in the New World and met Native Americans for the first time.  Ahad Ha’am (central figure in the movement for cultural or spiritual Zionism) on the European Jews views of Arabs: “Outside Palestine we are accustomed to believing that Arabs are all wild beasts of the desert, a people akin to jackasses who do not understand what is doing on around them.” And from Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann in 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference, “The Arabs will be our problem for a long time.  It’s not going to be simple.  One day they may have to leave and let us have the country. They’re ten to one, but don’t we Jews have ten times their intelligence?”  Ironically, in the present day, it is the Palestinian Arabs in the Middle East who have produced the highest number of college graduates.

“The Talmud states that…two contrary types of souls exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from the Satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness…Rabbi Kook, the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism said: ‘The difference between a Jewish soul and the souls of non-Jews…is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”  And, “gush Emunim rabbis have continually reiterated that Jews who killed Arabs should not be punished, [e.g.]…Relying on the Code of Maimonides and the Halacha, Rabbi Ariel stated, ‘A Jew who killed a non-Jew is exempt from human judgement and has not violated the [religious] prohibition of murder…The significance here is most striking when the broad support, both direct and indirect, for Gush Emunim is considered.  About one-half of Israel’s Jewish population supports Gush Emunim.”  Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel

Isaiah 1: 17 Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.

bedouins early 1900s

Bedouins in Palestine in early 1900’s

Piece together with other picts. Restore, keep sepia. Final output 11x14.

European Jews 1927

Israel Declares Itself a State (1948)

In 1948, after the declaration of the State of Israel, the Zionist Jews began intensively slaughtering, expelling and dispossessing Palestinians of their property.  During the Deir Yassin Massacre on April 9, 1948, Jewish soldiers lined up men, women and children against a wall and shot them.  These murderous acts of terror caused a significant number of Palestinians to flee their homes.  In 1949, approximately 750,000 Palestinian refugees lived in caves, abandoned huts, and makeshift tents.  Many were starving and their refugee camp was only miles away from their own gardens and orchards.  Presently, many of these refugees are still residing in camps and ghettos.  Zionist writer, Ahad Ha’am quoting Sami Hadawi in his writing, Bitter Harvest: “They treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, deprive them of their rights, offend them without cause, and even boast of these deeds, and nobody among us opposes this despicable and dangerous inclination.”  Many of the refugees fled to surrounding countries like Jordan (presently 2.7 million Palestinian refugees) where even to this day they don’t have the same rights as the indigenous population.  Palestinian refugees in Lebanon were banned from working in 74 professions such that the only jobs they can obtain are in construction, agriculture, or street sweeping.

Uri Milstein, authoritative Israeli military historian of the 1948 war, “In almost every village occupied by us during the War of Independence, acts were committed which are defined as war crimes, such as murders, massacres, and rapes.”

palestinian refugees 1948 2

Palestinian refugees 1948

Additionally, Israeli soldiers deliberately destroyed Palestinian villages so they couldn’t return to their homes.  On December 11, 1948, the UN General Assembly passed resolution number 194 affirming the rights of Palestinians to return to their homes and property.  Unfortunately, this resolution has been re-passed 28 times because the State of Israel is not complying with the UN resolution.

June 1967 6 day war

Tensions increased in 1957 when Israel joined with Britain and France to attack Egypt.  Later, the Soviet Union misinformed the Syrian Government by stating Israeli forces were massing in Northern Israel to attack Syria.  Subsequently, Israeli leaders decided to attack Syria if Syria continued to allow Palestinian guerilla attacks from their territory.  Egypt responded in May of 1967 by entering the Sinai Peninsula bordering I srael and blockaded the Israeli port of Eilat on the Gulf of ‘Aquaba.  The next month Israel preemptively attacked Egypt and Syria.  Jordan joined the fray and was attacked by Israel as well.  Due to Israel’s superior military they were able to capture the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and Golan Heights from Syria.  The UN Security Council in resolution 242 called for Israeli withdrawal from the captured territories based on the, “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.”  In response, Israel established a military administration to govern Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  As a result, Palestinians were denied political rights and civil liberties.  Jews began creating settlement areas in Palestinian territory against the ruling of international law.  However, international law has not been enforced.

Yom Kippur War

In 1973, Egypt and Syria demanded return of their land taken by the State of Israel in 1967.  Kissinger, Israeli’s and the US media underestimated the seriousness of Egypt and Syria’s demand such that on October 6, 1973 war broke out.  The State of Israel put pressure on Kissinger for support from the U.S., who capitulated to Israel’s demands.  It was not difficult for Kissinger to obtain support as the propaganda machine was so strong the U.S. media thought Israel was under siege.  The real truth is that no fighting took place on Israeli territory.  Direct costs to the U.S. were 3 billion, and indirect costs were 10-15 billion.  The amount of financial support the U.S. gave to this war in support of Israel caused unemployment and recession in the U.S.

Jeremiah 22:  This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right.  Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed.  Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. (To put into context, this is a stern passage regarding the unrighteousness of the King of Judah. God admonishes the King of Judah if He does not do what he says, “People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?’  And the answer will be: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods” (8).  Also, in verse 10, “Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss; rather, weep bitterly for him who is exiled, because he will never return nor see his native land again”).

“In an article published in the Washington Post of 3 October 1978, Rabbi Hirsch (of Jerusalem) is reported to have declared: ‘The 12th principle of our faith, I believe, is that the Messiah will gather the Jewish exiled who are dispersed throughout the nations of the world.  Zionism is diametrically opposed to Judaism.  Zionism wishes to define the Jewish people as a nationalistic entity.  The Zionists say, in effect, ‘Look here, God.  We do not like exile.  Take us back, and if you don’t, we’ll just roll up our sleeves and take ourselves back.’  The Rabbi continues: ‘This, of course, is heresy.  The Jewish people are charged by Divine oath not to force themselves back to the Holy Land against the wishes of those residing there.’”  Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest

Jeremiah 23: 1-8 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord.  Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherd who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord.  I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.  I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.  “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.  This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.  “So then, the days are coming,: declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the counties where he had banished them.’  Then they will live in their own land.”

John 14:1-5 “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Intifada

“In violation of international law, Israel has confiscated over 52 percent of the land in the West Bank and 30 percent of the Gaza Strip for military use or for settlement by Jewish civilians…From 1967 to 1982, Israel’s military government demolished 1,338 Palestinian homes on the West Bank.  Over this period, more than 300,000 Palestinians were detained without trial various period by Israeli security forces. Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation, Lockman and Beinin

In December 1987, there was a mass uprising by the Palestinians (intifada – Arabic for “shaking off”).  .   As a result of the uprising, the Israeli military fired 1 million live bullets at Palestinians.  A bloodier second intifada occurred after Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount which caused outraged Palestinians to organize demonstrations.   In response, Palestinian civilian neighborhoods were subjected to shelling and aerial bombardment by the Israeli military.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Affects of Israeli Occupation:

“You have to remember that 90 percent of children two years old or more have experienced – some many, many times –the [Israeli] army breaking into the home, beating relatives, destroying things.  Many were beaten themselves, had bones broken, were shot, tear gassed, or had these things happen to siblings and neighbors…The emotional aspect of the child is affected by the [lack of] security.  He needs to feel safe.  We see the consequences later if he does not.  In our research, we have found children who are exposed to trauma tend to be more extreme in their behaviors and, later, in their political beliefs.” Dr. Samir Quota, Director of Research for the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, quoted in The Journal of Palestine Studies, Summer 1996, p. 84

Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

According to a study at Bethlehem University, many Palestinian families go five days a week without running water.  Additionally, while the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza have extreme water restrictions, the Israeli settlers have unlimited water usage.  Betty Jane Bailey reporting in The Link in December of 1996, “A summer trip to a Jewish settlement on the edge of the Judean desert less than five miles from Bethlehem confirmed this water inequity for us.  While Bethlemites were buying water from tank trucks at highly inflated rates, the lawns were green in the [Jewish] settlement.  Sprinklers were going at midday in the hot August sunshine.  Sounds of children swimming in the outdoor pool added to the unreality.”

Matthew 25:35-40 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothes me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

From Edward Said writing in The Question of Palestine, “However much one laments and even wishes somehow to atone for the loss of life and suffering visited upon innocents because of Palestinian violence, there is still the need, I think, also to say that no national movement has been so unfairly penalized, defamed, and subjected to disproportionate retaliation for its sin as has the Palestinian.  The Israeli policy of punitive counterattacks (or state terrorism) seem to be to try to kill anywhere from 50 to 100 Arabs for every Jewish fatality.  The devastation of Lebanese refugee camps, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and orphanages; the summary arrests, deportations, house destructions, maimings, and torture of Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza, these, and the number of Palestinian fatalities, the scale of material loss, the physical, political and psychological deprivations, have tremendously exceeded the damage done by Palestinians to Israelies.”

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Hadith 552 The Prophet Muhammad said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick and set free the captives.”

gaza-dead-child

A Palestinian man carries the body of his daughter, who was killed during Israeli shelling, outside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City AFP July 2014

Victims Strike Back

After the beginning of the first intifada, or uprising, against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip, a cohesive group (Hamas which is the Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement) formed to oppose Israeli occupation and provide social welfare programs.  Hamas has gained increasing support among Palestinians due to their more aggressive confrontation of Israeli occupation, and the building and control of new schools which previously were ran inefficiently under corrupt policies by Fatah (President of Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas).  The United States has provided $84 million in military aid for the Presidential Guard loyal to Abbas in which part has gone to enhance Israel’s arsenal.

Presently, Hamas is building tunnels to go under the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.  President Obama just pledged $40 million for tunnel destruction technology to protect Israel and the “U.S.”   I’m not quite sure the impact of tunnels would have being dug into U.S. territory from Canada or Mexico to shoot rockets.  Obviously, Obama is manipulating the media to partly hide the United States true purpose which has been and is now to support the State of Israel and the Zionists.

Supporting Peace

israeli man and son with machine gun

An Israeli man shows his son how to work a machine-gun during a traditional military weapon display to mark the 66th anniversary of Israel’s “independence” at the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat on 6 May 2014. Gali TibbongaliAFP

It is surprisingly ironic that the actual survivors of the Holocaust and their descendantswho established the State of Israel and those that are presently residents have displayed the same type of horrific tactics as what the Jews experienced during the Holocaust.  The aggressive take-over of the land and property the Palestinian Arabs had lived in and owned for the previous 1,200 years has created a victim who is now fed up with being abused.  And the victim’s hatred towards the U.S. stems from the blatant, unilateral support of the State of Israel while turning a blind eye towards the suffering of the Palestinians, some of which are Christians.

The ignorant Evangelistic Christian support of the State of Israel feeds the fuel of violence.   In using the scripture from Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you,” those Christians who have supported Israel have provided clear evidence of why it is important not to take a verse out of context and use it indiscriminately.  Most Christians I have personally spoken to support the State of Israel, because, somehow they have the feeling that as a Christian, that is what they are supposed to be doing, without proper exegesis of scripture, researching the history of the establishment of the State of Israel and the far reaching significant consequences, and praying for discernment and wisdom. In this case, ignorance is not bliss, it is extremely dangerous.

Donald Neff writing in the November 2002 issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Israel Created Two of It’s Own Worst Enemies – Hamas and Hezbollah, “Thus, without anticipating it, and certainly without wanting it, Israel’s continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and parts of Lebanon and Syria, contributed to the formation of nationalist groups willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of Islam. The enemies of old, motivated more by nationalism than religion, were now augmented by Islamic extremists bent on the defeat of Israel, and now the United States, in the name of religion.”

Edward Said writing in the May 30, 1996 issue of The Progressive, “It is simply extraordinary and without precedent that Israel’s history, its record—from the fact that it is a state built on conquest, that it has invaded surrounding countries, bombed and destroyed at will, to the fact that it currently occupies Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian territory against international law—is simply never cited, never subjected to scrutiny in the U.S. media or in official discourse…never addressed as playing any role at all in provoking ‘Islamic terror.”

And from Jews for Justice in The Middle East:

“The persecution of the Jews for centuries in Europe was the worse of many stains on the European record, and the Zionists’ desire for a place of sanctuary is certainly understandable.  Like all other colonial enterprises, however, Zionism was based on the total disregard of the rights of indigenous inhabitants.  As such, it is morally indefensible.  And, as previously stated, all subsequent crimes—and there have been many on both sides—inevitably follow from this original injustice to the Palestinians.

Given the damage that has been done to the Palestinian people, Israel’s obligation is to make whatever amends possible.  Among these should be assisting the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state in the entire West Bank and Gaza with its capital in East Jerusalem.  Israel should not object to this state and, in addition, should help with its foundation via generous reparations.  Besides being the right thing to do, this would stop the sporadic acts of violence against Israel, as the Palestinians’ legitimate desire for their own state would be realized.  Moreover, all laws that discriminate against non-Jews living in Israel should be repealed.

Given the history outlined in this paper, we conclude that the Palestinians have gotten “the short end of the stick” and that justice demands that wrongs should be righted.  Full and complete justice would entail allowing any Palestinian to return to Israel if they wished but, practically speaking, we understand that this is a recipe for even more bloodshed.  Therefore, recognizing that reality, we join Gush Shalom and other Israeli peace groups in calling for a negotiated, modified right of return with the bulk of Palestinian refugees being settled in a Palestinian state, finance by generous reparations from both Israel and the international community.

As U.S. citizens, we have a special obligation to see that justice is done in this matter.  U.S. financial aid to Israel has been, and continues to be, enormous; and our diplomatic support is a crucial factor allowing Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories.  We strongly recommend that you contact your elected representatives in Washington and urge them to insist that, as a pre-condition of continued support, Israel must abide by the consensus of world opinion and withdraw to its 1967 borders, as demanded in numerous UN votes.

American Jews in particular have a special responsibility to acknowledge the Palestinian point of view in order to help move the debate forward.  As Chomsky writes in his Peace in the Middle East?, ‘In the American Jewish community, there is little willingness to face the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have suffered a monstrous historical injustice, whatever one may think of the competing claims.  Until this is recognized, discussion of the Middle East crisis cannot even begin.’

In the long run, only by admitting their culpability and making amends can Israelis live with their neighbors in peace.  Only then can the centuries-old Jewish tradition of being a people of high moral character be restored.  And only in this way can real security, peace and justice come to this ancient land.”  From The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict

Reparations to the victims of the Holocaust have been enormous, especially to those paid out to Germans.  Germany has paid $90 billion in reparations with an additional 80,000 survivors in other countries paid $3,250 in a one-time payment.  In October of 2015 President Obama pledged a payment of $12 million in reparations to be paid over the next five years.  And yet the mostly Muslim Palestinians loss of life including women and children, property, and human dignity has been ignored by the U.S., and not only ignored, but supported by supporting the State of Israel.  The U.S. has created enemies, conflict and continued discord by its support of injustice.  Presently, Hamas is refusing a two state solution to the conflict, and is pushing towards living side by side with Christians and Jews in the entire territory that was initially taken by the Zionists.  It is easy to understand why Hamas is refusing the two state system due to the Israelis history of continually not following international law by its ongoing occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

The Ombudsman Association for Palestine (OAP)

جمعية الدفاع عن حقوق الفلسطينيين:  “As a Palestinian exile who has been living in Europe for most of his life, I can discern a striking similarity in the way the Palestinian problem is presented in today’s American media and how it was portrayed in European media in the early 1970’s.  Back then, there was rarely a reference that Israel was built on the systematic and premeditated destruction of Palestinian homes and farms, that Palestinians were expelled from their land to make room for Jewish immigrants, and that terrorism developed as a peculiarly Zionist specialty.  In short, there was no reference that Israel came into existence by the negation of the Palestinians and their right to nationhood.  Israel was commonly perceived as a “modern state struggling for its own security.”  Its oppressive practices against those Palestinians who managed to stay on after the creation of the state in 1948, and Israel’s aggression against its Arab neighbors, were invariably ignored or excused.  Israel’s refusal to allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes was also accepted, or at best left unchallenged.

Happily- with the exception of the United States and a handful of other countries– there is now general recognition of the injustices committed against the Palestinians.  This sea change in the perception of the Palestinian question came about largely as a result of the exponential growth, both quantitatively and qualitatively, of civil society worldwide.

With time and globalization, more voices are now rising, including those of a growing number of eminent Jewish personalities, calling for an overdue redress of these injustices.  Thanks to the internet, the monopolistic grip that the Western media once had on information has loosened.  Alternative outlets now courageously offer in-depth coverage of Israeli human rights violations, documenting specific cases of torture of Palestinian prisoners and the unlawful confiscation of land and property.c

In addition to today’s expanding networked society, better information and communication technology systems mean more voices can be heard and have impact.  With means of communication now available, it is time to work toward peaceful restoration of the Palestinian peoples’ rights and build a future in which Palestinians live in dignity, in freedom, where all their human rights including their inalienable right to self-determination are recognized and respected, and where they are adequately compensated for all the human suffering and material losses they have endured over the last sixty-six years.

The OAP offers a modest contribution toward achieving that aim by taking the debate of the Palestine question back to basics.  In a pamphlet entitled Palestine or Israel that I published when I was an undergraduate in 1971, I ended the forward with the sentence, “Justice is indivisible, and what is justice for the Jews must also be justice for the Palestinians.”  This is still my guiding principle in defending the rights of the Palestinian people and will be the basis of OAP’s modus operandi.”  Mohammad Tarbush

Quran 49:9 …and act justly.  Truly, God loves those who are just.  Quran 5:8  …and let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice.  Be just: that is nearer to piety… Mosnad Ahmad #5798 and Saheeh Al-Bukhari #2447 The Prophet Muhammad said: “People, beware of injustice, for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.”

Memoricide

art old palestine

Art of Old Palestine

The term, memoricide, was coined by Ilan Pappe in his book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine to illustrate how the Zionists attempted to erase every aspect of Palestinian culture and history.  Thousands of books, paintings, musical recordings, furniture and other artifacts were looted by the Zionist militias from homes, libraries and government offices.  Additionally, Moshe Dayan native of Ukraine boasting of the annihilation of villages in Palestine:  “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages.  You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.  Nhalal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushu’a in the place of Tal-al-Shuman.  There is not one single place build in this country that did not have a former Arab population” Ha’aretz, April 4, 1969).

While reading about the destruction of Palestinian culture by the Zionists, I thought of the Holocaust and the destruction of Jewish culture and theft of paintings by the Germans.   I’m sure as you were reading this, the parallel crossed your mind as well.  I don’t quite understand how a group of Jews (Zionists) who had just escaped victimization and ethnic cleansing by the Germans, then victimized and pursued ethnic cleansing in Palestine.  Typically, going through extreme suffering creates empathy and compassion with a deeper understanding of being an advocate to prevent the same type of suffering in others.  In this case, the Zionists hearts were not softened, but hardened such that they could not see the suffering and oppression they committed on the Palestinians was the same suffering their people have gone through for centuries.

palestine woman with gun painting

The people are the heart of Palestine and they must defend themselves.

Ahlam Al Faqih

The painting of the woman in old Palestine (before 1947) exhibits of feeling of abundance; she is well dressed in cultural Palestinian garb bringing in the harvest.  After 1947, Palestinian art changes such that the images overtly show a hope for a return to their homeland, a return to the way things were, a desire for peace, but as in the above painting, a dichotomy of peace with violence seen by holding white doves with a gun.  She is bringing in a different harvest.

hope and perserverance

Perseverance and Hope

Sliman Mansour 1976

I Come From There, by Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008)

I come from there and I have memories
Born as mortals are, I have a mother
And a house with many windows,
I have brothers, friends,
And a prison cell with a cold window.
Mine is the wave, snatched by sea-gulls,
I have my own view,
And an extra blade of grass.
Mine is the moon at the far edge of the words,
And the bounty of birds,
And the immortal olive tree.
I walked this land before the swords
turned its living body into a laden table.
I come from there. I render the sky unto her mother
when the sky weeps for her mother.
And I weep to make myself known
to a returning cloud.
I learnt all the words worthy of the court of blood
So that I could break the rule.
I learnt all the words and broke them up
To make a single word: Homeland…..

Darwish was born in al-Birwa in Western Galilee from landowning parents.  Unfortunately his mother was illiterate, but his grandfather taught him to read.  The family fled to Lebanon when Israeli forces assaulted his village in 1948.  Their village was completely razed to prevent the Palestinians returning to their homes.  A year later, the family settled in Israel, and then Darwish moved to Haifa.  Darwish published his first book of poetry at age nineteen (Wingless Birds).

Shalom

Strongs concordance 7965 (shalom): completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

As I researched the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict my heart hurt so much I wept.  I wept over the lack of wisdom of our U.S. leaders in supporting the State of Israel, but mostly I wept for the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people.  I wept over the deeper understanding of the underlying issues that have led to the rise of violence and the creation of terrorists.  I wept over the lack of wisdom in jumping into violent strategies, as opposed to pursuing true peace.  I wept over racism, I wept over the three religions of the Book (Jews, Christians and Muslims), who worship the one true God, but can’t seem to find a way to use their common love of God (or Allah, or YHWH) for peace.  Violent conflict is the easy path, but it is a path of never-ending destruction and suffering.  The path to peace is a difficult path, but it is the path out of the dark into the light.

The Zionists must come to full repentance of the harm they have done to the Palestinians.  They have not been following their own teachings in the Torah regarding justice and mercy.  The Christians who support the State of Israel are not following the teachings of Jesus. The Muslims who support violence are not following their beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.  Once there is repentance, then allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland is paramount.  Since 1948 many refugees are living in other countries where they don’t have full rights as citizens.  They are waiting in a place in between, unable to fully move forward into a new life. The U.S. must quit supporting Israel, but gain full wisdom of their role in continually advancing the conflict.  The US has been highly active in the peace process between Palestine and the State of Israel, but a country that has allied itself with one side (State of Israel) even to providing financial support for enhancement of weaponry and improved military to be used against the Palestinians (as well as other countries like Jordan and Syria) will not be successful in establishing peace.  With one hand the U.S. is involved in peace talks, and the other hand is dropping money into Israeli’s pockets.  Any country involved in peace talks between Palestine and the State of Israel should be impartial and objective.  Significant reparations must be made to assist the Palestinians.  Any future conflict should be a response of non-violent resistance such that pressure internationally will bear down on the aggressor.

My brothers and sisters of the People of the Book.  We must pray for the Zionists repentance, reparations, and return of the refugees to their homeland.  We must pray for Hamas to accept peaceful resolution. We must do whatever we can in our circle of influence to educate others regarding the truth.  Most importantly, pray for understanding and acceptance among Muslims, Jews and Christians through love.  Love of our God, love of our neighbor, love of our enemies.

Psalm 10: 16-18

The Lord is King for ever and ever;

the nations will perish from his land.

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;

You encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

Defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

so that mere earthly mortals

will never again strike terror.

 

My Prayer

The Creator of the nations, high above the darkness on the earth, residing in glorious light, please be merciful.  Guide our nation’s leaders with wisdom, and make a way for peace.  Look with compassion on the oppressed who cry out to you for help, and break the hearts of the oppressors.  Flood this land of conflict with rivers of love, rich with wisdom and grace. Bind the hearts of the People of the Book together so they work together to accomplish your purpose and will.  Turn sorrow into joy, suffering into gladness, and let this darkness be turned into light.  Bring a great harvest of love from animosity, and compassion from hardheartedness, for this is only possible through you, if you are willing, Father.  We praise you, we sing of your glory, we thank you for your many blessings, for all comes from you, as well as for the beautiful hearts you have created that are willing to take your gifts and use them for your glory. Amen

SHALOM

________________________________________________________________

RESOURCES

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/origin.html  The Origins of the Palestine-Israel Conflict by Jews for Justice in the Middle East

http://www.merip.org/primer-palestine-israel-arab-israeli-conflict-new Historical summary

http://www.wrmea.org/2002-november/israel-created-two-of-its-own-worst-enemies-hamas-and-hezbollah.html   Article on the influence of the creation of the State of Israel on the increase of Hamas and Hezbollah

http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/private/cmje/issues/more_issues/more_issues/JewishMuslim_Relations_Article.pdf  Oxford College paper-  focus on present day conflict

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/balfour.html  Balfour Declaration Letter

http://www.middleeasteye.net/essays/stealing-palestine-study-historical-and-cultural-theft-1001196809 Stealing Palestinian culture by the Zionists

http://www.plausibletruths.com/blogging-truth/judaism-or-israel – Writing from a Jew about the July 2014 war and the atrocities committed by Israel.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-13331522  Excellent, clear summary of the rise of Hamas and the present conflict.   Profile: Hamas Palestinian movement

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/gaza-strip-40-powerful-photos-conflict-between-israel-hamas-1462766  Photographs of the conflict in July 2014

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/disturbing-photos-show-militarization-israeli-children – Article discussing the militarization of Israeli children

http://www.anera.org/locations/jordan/ Relief organization assisting the Palestinian refugees in Jordan

http://www.unrwa.org/ United Nations relief and work agency assisting Palestinian refugees

Books

Against Our Better Judgment by Alison Weir.  According to Weir, during the “Second Intifada ” – Palestinian uprising, motivated curiosity regarding the conflict.  Weir has a background in journalism, and noticed very quickly how one-sided the coverage was.  As a result, she began researching further and, “In doing so, I discovered a far more drastic pattern of Israeli violence against Palestinians than mainstream U.S. news organizations were revealing. ”  After becoming “disturbed” at what she was finding, especially significant numbers of children being killed by Israeli bombing, etc., she quit her job and traveled extensively as freelance reporter throughout Gaza and the West Bank during the height of the uprising.  Weir states: “Americans have given far more of our tax money to Israel than to any other nation, and to the region in general.  In addition, the U.S. government frequently vetoes international initiatives on Israel that virtually all other nations endorse.  As a result, our support for Israel has created growing hostility against the United States, placing our citizens at increasing risk.”  This book is thoroughly researched and details how the United States became pawns to the Zionists.

Blaming the victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question by Edward Said

Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 by Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar

Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life by Sari Nusseiben with Anthony Davis

 

 

 

 

 

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