Sunday, November 18, 2012

An Eye for an Eye

During the summer the United Church took a lot of heat for condemning Israel settlements in the occupied territories and calling for a boycott of goods produced by those settlements. I haven't mentioned that since the UCC took that controversial stand at General Council a group of fifteen US Christian organizations condemned Israel even more harshly, and received the same angry response.

It has been good that Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, has largely restrained itself from committing violent acts against Israel in recent months despite ongoing tensions, although not entirely. Then this week past Hamas began to fire Iranian-made rockets into Israel, killing several people and injuring more. Predictably, Israel responded to those attacks with a more powerful barrage and now it looks as though there will be a ground war. Other nations are calling for restraint, but we can see what is coming.

The United Church and most of us who are concerned about human rights violations against Palestinians have conceded Israel's right to defend itself, and that is happening now. But if this escalates and troops enter the territories we know that innocent blood will be shed alongside those targetted as the perpetrators of the attacks. It is terribly sad and problematic for Christian organizations attempting to speak out on behalf of the vast majority who want to live peaceably. This will only provide justification for Israel's position.

In the photos and footage I see terrified people on both sides as well as death and destruction. As Martin Luther King offered, taking an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

Are you watching and wondering? Has this most recent flare-up of violence changed your outlook? Should the United Church keep its own counsel at the moment, or offer some statement?


Nancy said...

A family friend living near Jerusalem said everything was fine in an email on Friday. Then half an hour later he sent another email saying they had to run to a bomb shelter because a missile fired by Hamas had landed between their village and Jerusalem. They had to try and explain to their young daughter what was happening. We are very concerned for their welfare and wondering if it is safe to visit in March.

roger said...

It is a very chaotic situation out there. It does appear that Israel is ready for a ground attack, however I think they will tread carefully, as they know the world is watching. The last time this happened - a few years ago - about 1,400 Palestinians were killed, versus several Israelis. There was world-wide condemnation of Israel.

I agree with the UCC's stance on this. However, the Palestinians need to stop firing these rockets. Up until now, most of the rockets they have fired have been home-made and not a huge cause for concern. They have obviously stepped it up with Iran-made rockets.

I see fault on both sides. It is interesting to note that, although many countries like US and Canada officially view Hamas as a terrorist organization, Israel helped create Hamas in order to split the PLO.

I would like Obama to try a little harder to push both Hamas and Israel to back off. Israel depends heavily on American aid.

I'm pretty sure the average Palestinian in Gaza does not want war with Israel!