Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbour's life. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:16
Blessed are the peacemakers
In a part of the world where conflict has deep roots and international reputations have foundered on failed attempts to bring peace, Mark Woods meets Christians who are doing things differently
Page 10 and 11 carried an article entitled, "Blessed are the Peacemakers" looking at the campaigns by some Palestinian Christians to make peace; as they understand peace.
The thread of the article is not easy to follow, starting with criticisms of Israel, then criticism of Christion Zionists (see also January 22nd 2009 article) moving into accounts of various Palestinian grievances, before setting out the argument that these people are peacemakers.
The peacemakers referred to appear to be seeking peace through their idea of justice and by achieving the goals of the Palestinians.
Sometimes the encounters with western evangelicals were devastating. 'At the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, they encountered thousands of Christians who were marching and saying that they loved the Jewish people,' Salim explains. That was fine but what about the household of God?
Presumably they object that Christians are breaking away from centuries of Christian hatred of Jews and want all Christians to continue siding with them against Israel. Showing love for the Jews is not hatred towards Palestinians; unless they are insisting we take sides and perpetuate anti-Semitism. If they really had peacemakers' hearts this would not be a problem.
For Palestinians, it's very different; they point to the ethnic cleansing, the massacres, rapes, looting and destruction of whole towns that accompanied the War of Independence in 1947-49 and led to 750,000 people leaving their homes. They call it the Nakba, the Catastrophe....
Holding on to and reciting libels against Israel do not indicate an attitude of reconciliation and Christian charity, let alone peacemaking. The emotive words are a highly negative spin on a the outcomes of a conflict that was initiated by the Arab nations. The Arabs who left their homes mostly did so on the instructions of Arab leaders who told them to leave until they had driven the Jews into the sea. There has never been one case of rape (the only specific allegation) proved against the IDF; the IDF being the most accountable force in the world.
There is a four day period of introductory training, covering understanding conflict, understanding violence, the principles of non-violence and practical strategies for non violent resistance.
These are not strategies for making peace with the enemy, but for a more effective way than violence of defeating him . (Resistance in Palestinian usage is normally used as a euphemism for terrorism - Palestinian Lexicon)
Nevertheless, I say 'when the occupation ends, not if' says Sami.
He is talking about defeating Israel; not about making peace with Israel. All their talk of justice is about achieving what they want according to their unwavering and non-negotiable version of events; much of which can be shown to be manufactured. (Replacement Geography - Replacement History)
The fact that that the article cites Israeli historians including Ilan Pape does not mean they are right; Pape is a marxist with his own agenda against Israel and is shunned by colleagues.
This article includes a picture heading that specifically makes the false accusation that Har Homa is a "settlement" built on stolen Palestinian land.
See the following authoritative articles.
The article quotes. . .
A settlement had been built near the village on land confiscated from the Arab farmer who had deeds to the land from Ottoman times. He collapsed and died from a heart attack when the settlers arrived.
This is clearly a sad story, but is it true, have they any proof? Taking into account the lies told and accepted about Har Homa being a "settlement on stolen land" one must also doubt the veracity of the claims about deeds
Do the pictures at the head of this page, from the Baptist Times article, suggest peacemaking or provocation to you? The Palestinians and their Baptist friends appear to be testing the patience of the young IDF soldiers charged with keeping the peace. Waving a Palestinian flag and making "V" for victory gestures hardly constitute reaching out in reconciliation!
These "peacemakers" appear to be saying that there will be peace once Israel is defeated and Palestine gets its demands met. Since those demands, in the minds of many, include the eradication of Israel, can that really be called peacemaking?
So, did Mark Woods meet "Christians who are doing things differently", as claimed in the subheading?
Did they demonstrate Christian virtues like looking for the planks in their own eyes before looking for the specks in the eyes of the Jews?
Was there any grief or repentance for the indoctrination of hatred for Jews that is pumped into their children?
I don't think so! - These people are engaged in the same old stuff of hating Israel and seeking its destruction.
I have met Jews and Arabs* who are making genuine peace through trusting in Jesus the Messiah but that is not what is presented here; that is something entirely different. (*It would not be safe for them if I were to name them here)
The left-hand column on page 10 of this two page spread carries an opinion piece from a Baptist minister writing of a visit the Christmas Market in Bath (England). Having struggled through the crowds he meets his friend, a Palestinian wood carver from Bethlehem and comments on his trouble with the crowds.
'It is always difficult to get into Bethlehem!' my Palestinian friend replied. 'If you come this year it will be easier for you - we expect many tourists in Bethlehem but for me - to get in or out is never easy.'
It is sad, but the Palestinians never miss a chance to turn any conversation to politics and their resentments against Israel and its anti-terror measures. It is unfortunate that a Baptist Times contributor should use this graceless remark as a peg from which to hang collection of religious Christmas stuff with an anti-Israel flavour, springing perhaps from an ingrained anti-Semitism.
......... Was it difficult for you Joseph, as you travelled with the heavily pregnant Mary .... I wonder what you talked about. Old times before the occupation by Rome? ........
Did it occur to the columnist that it was not the Palestinians but the Jews (including Joseph and Mary) that were living under the occupation of Rome? Or does he subscribe to the Palestinian fiction that Jesus was a Palestinian.
The columnist adopts the usual cheap conventions for linking Christmas to the Palestinian cause. Unfortunately, the Palestinians who tell you of their hardships never mention that the root cause is not Israel's security measures but the actions of their Muslim neighbours that necessitated the countermeasures. Israel's security measures undoubtedly make life difficult for residents of Bethlehem, but people from their side have been murdering Israelis.
Why are Christians in Bethlehem not objecting to the murder of Jews; apart from a justified fear for their lives?
If you live and identify with violent men how can you expect to not share the fruits of their violence?
Our Palestinian brothers and sisters need our prayers for their protection; but it is protection from their Muslim neighbours - not from Israel.
Created 13/06/09 - - Updated 17/06/09
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