Musalaha Update: Conflict in Gaza
One rare evangelical Christian voice worth listening? I think so.
. . . To both Israelis and Palestinians, the current conflict in Gaza has brought nothing but pain and suffering. It has also caused friction among some believers as they choose to pledge sole allegiance to their own people group. Some are even expressing an unabashed hatred for the other side through articles, e-mails and graphic content on Facebook.
. . . Each player in the conflict places the full responsibility of the cycle of violence on the other side. There is a general unwillingness to enter into peace talks on ideological or political grounds. For example, Israel will say Hamas is an ideological religious organization that doesn’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians, on the other hand, say the Palestinian Authority has entered into concessions and nothing substantial has evolved; all that increased were settlements and checkpoints.
. . . While the conflict has divided some believers, there are those taking a stand and fulfilling their priestly role. I was greatly encouraged last week to hear a Messianic pastor lead his congregation in a prayer of repentance, especially emphasizing that in a time of war, repentance is necessary from both the Israelis and the Palestinians. We must begin by examining our own sins, failures and shortcomings and seek God’s forgiveness and direction.
. . . In time of war we are also called to take on a prophetic role. The prophet was a representative of God who brought a message primarily to effect social change. The prophet spoke the truth and reminded us to care for the widow, orphan and stranger. When speaking the prophetic word, we need to be blunt without any hidden messages, and we need to have the courage to speak out when our people are wrong. In the prophetic role we are reminded that we must not only speak out against the injustice which has been committed against our own people, but also against others. We have a duty to speak out against the misuse of power and the blood of the innocent shed whether it is Israeli or Palestinian.
. . . The world views war as war. Some will say, “in war the innocent also die and we cannot help it.” My son was greatly distressed when his friend told him exactly this. I shared with him that in war we need to speak up for the innocent. We cannot justify the act of killing innocent people and say it was in self-defense. Yet, we cannot justify killing someone with a weapon just because they’re holding a weapon. Even killing in war for self-defense should be taken with caution and reverence. The enemy carrying the weapon is also a person who has also been created in the image of God. Especially in a time of war we need to speak louder and clearer against the misuse of power by our governments and their justification of power and violence. War doesn’t mean giving a free hand without any moral and ethical boundaries and limitations.
What Should Our Role Be?
Good questions . but it’s more than that .the focus on reconciliation and peace must always be before us. The challenge is how do we get there. I would also add what roles could those who are Muslims or even atheists or agnostics have in all this?
. Most of us have picked sides. We’re pro-Israel or we’re pro-Palestinian. We might fight against this, but this is what we’ve done – we’ve picked sides. So whose side are you on? Here’s one way you can tell: Whose narrative do you retell?
. . . Here’s the problem with picking sides: Both sides blame the other – entirely. Neither side accepts responsibility for their role in the conflict. So reconciliation is not possible. No reconciliation, no peace!
What role could followers of Jesus play to help move both sides toward reconciliation and peace?
The 4 Nov raid on Gaza
Anil Netto points us to another story which hasn’t been highlighted.
War On Gaza – The Just Must Act
Bob Teoh chips in.
More than we will ever realise, we too can become victims of a war that is fought so far away in Gaza. Israel is fighting its war on two fronts – through its military and through its massive global public relations machinery. When we watch TV networks relentlessly streaming live images of the war into the comfort of our homes, we may think it’s none of our business and then flick the remote control to a more interesting channel. Quite rightly so, after all, was it not Hamas which fired rockets deep into Israeli territory, thus provoking Israel into defending itself by hitting back fast and furious? Self-defence is justified under international rules of engagement.
Israel can also flick its remote mind control machinery at will and the White House and mainstream American media, particularly, TV networks will stand by Israel’s aggression. The argument is that the Israel military is entitled to act in self-defence when threatened by terrorists.
The truth, however, is that it is not the armed combatants who get killed. The victims are largely unarmed Palestinian civilians, many of whom are innocent babes
Lesson In Bahasa Malaysia – Munafik
I’m puzzled by the arrests. But then again there’s always more than meets the eye.
Yesterday, there were a few large demonstrations after the Muslim Friday prayers that culminated in the handing over of a memorandum of protest regarding the current Gaza crisis to the US Embassy. The crowd it drew was so large that apparently traffic was backed up all over Kuala Lumpur. Understandably, the crowd was primarily Muslim as it occurred during a work day and it would generally be easier to mobilise Muslims who would have gathered at noon for their normal Friday prayers.
Now it seems that such shows of strength in the cause of peace and humanitarian support for the Israel-Palestinean conflict are only tolerated by officialdom if:
- It perpetuates the myth that this is a Muslim issue and only Muslims ought to be concerned about it
- If non-Muslims or civil society intends to get involved, it has to be within the framework of a Barisan Nasional component party
A Frustrated Voice
I was introduced to an interesting term lately . “Edgy diplomacy”. The following sounds like someone on the edge, not sure about the diplomacy,
Enough is enough .. the blame game is all over the place!
Israel is wrong .. I get it. Hamas is wrong .. I get it. Fatah is wrong .. I get it. The West is wrong .. I get it.
Well .. here’s news for you ..
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!
People are suffering and dying. Let’s move on beyond the rhetoric!
What would Jesus do?
Woe to all you warmongers and all those of you who feed on it.
Taking Aid to Gaza and Israel
Mercy . Lord have mercy, may we show mercy .
Today, I got this word from the head of the Bible Society in Gaza: “Politicians are bewildered and sending futile words. The noise of bombs and shells and rockets is much louder, still much louder is the voice of children, even those who are buried, women and innocent people, all crying for help and mercy and justice. I hear another voice louder than all; our Father calling His Church the body of His Son Jesus to step in and show mercy, speak words of life, and translate His will into action. It is time for mercy..”
Gaza: Where are the Peacemakers?
The words from a 51 year old resident is loud and clear . . . and there’s more . . .
People who don’t live in Sderot don’t understand the situation here, just as those who don’t live in Gaza don’t understand their situation. But I know they suffer and I know we suffer as well.
At the end of the day there will be an agreement, so why do we have to go through this process of killing and shedding blood first? Why can’t we stop? Why do we need for them to suffer so terribly, and I have no doubt that they are suffering more than us.
We in Sderot are so sick of this and they must be saying the same thing.
. . . Around the world, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups echo these arguments louder and louder every day. No one ever wins the rhetorical battles because no one can. It is wrong for an occupying power to starve a population and force it to live in poverty, and it is wrong to fire rockets at civilians forcing them to live in fear. Deep down each side acknowledges its culpability, but cannot show mercy. Both are blind in one eye while the other eye only looks in the mirror to see its own pain. Each side claims it must act because it, after-all, is the victim.
Fear, hatred, death, uncertainty and fanaticism rule the day.
For all these reasons, and more, I beg my brothers and sisters in Christ to undertake a revolution in thought which extends beyond entrenched racial and political dogmas, one that is grounded in the gospel of peace in Christ and one which propels the body of Christ to care for the sick and dying, for the fearful, and for those whom we call friend or enemy.
. . . We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of assigning blame, washing our hands of the world, or placing ourselves above it. Nor can we allow ourselves to be held hostage by eschatological positions which offer no respite for those who bury the dead or care for the injured.
Now is the time to plead for peace and reconciliation, a time to end the madness and call for understanding. We may or may not be successful, but we cannot be silent. Our God was not silent in the face of our inequities, and while God could have judged us, instead he sent his Son to bridge the divide between God and humanity. If then we are created in God’s image and for God’s purpose, can we not then stand in the gap between Arab and Jew and beg for peace?