Israelis – Not all support this war on Gaza.

Ah, excuse me… Yes, over here. Yesterday, I heard on TV news that 84% of the Israeli public supports this current war on Gaza. Today, I’ve found an article that reports on this recent survey (click here). We need to look critically at this statement.

Israel has a diverse society, in many dimensions. And, in that diversity, people are trying so hard to speak against the horrific hostilities (for example, click here). This non-violent effort has been going on for years and also is diverse (click here). And the effort is shared with parts of Palestinian society in occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

Let’s let the parts of Israeli society and Palestinian society who are seeking non-violent ways in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel know that we know about them. That we see them. That we hear them.

Then, please write to your Canadian Member of Parliament here and here to ask that our federal government stop supporting the Israeli government’s attack on Gaza. Please write to Paul Dewar, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, to urge the NDP to object to the federal government’s support for the Israeli government (click here).

Thank you.

Check out these various websites as a reflection of just some of the efforts to co-create peace among Palestinians and Israelis:

Breaking the Silence (click here and here)

Combatants for Peace (click here)

Neve Shalom – Wahat al-Salam – Oasis of Peace (click here)

New Profile (Click here)

Open House in Ramle (click here)

Other Voice (click here and here)

The Parents Circle Families Forum (click here)

Peoples Peace Fund (click here)

Windows: Channels for Communication (click here)

Young Israelis who refuse to serve in the Israeli Defence Force (click here , here, and here)

Stepping out of a destructive cycle – Together

Are you there? World?

Life in Gaza is like this (click here).

Canadians are part of the international community. Growing numbers of us are starting to object (see here and here). In the following, I offer an excerpt from a thoughtful leader in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek. We met in December 2010 (click here ). For Rev. Dr. Ateek’s full letter, click here:

“1.    The international community needs to empower the UN to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine. We have been caught in a destructive cycle. Every few years the situation reaches its boiling point, warfare begins, and thousands of Palestinians are killed and injured, mainly civilians – women, children, elderly, and disabled. The international community has been lethargic, impotent, and unwilling to implement its own resolutions on Palestine. The international community has the responsibility to resolve this seemingly intractable conflict. The UN needs to be empowered to do its work.

2.    International law unequivocally gives occupied people the right to shake off the yoke of the occupier through various means including the armed struggle. While this is true and needs to be remembered in considering this situation, Sabeel has always stood for the moral right of liberation through non-violent means.

3.    The Palestinian rockets from Gaza have an important message that Israel refuses to understand and the western powers, especially the United States, are unwilling to comprehend. The message of the rockets addresses the core issues and the root causes of the problem – STOP THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION AND FREE PALESTINE. If this does not happen, the war will occur again and again and again, and the casualties will be mainly women and children. This conflict will continue to flare up, despite anyone’s best efforts to contain it, unless the systemic injustice of occupation is dismantled. A recent statement from Israeli academics cuts straight to the point: “Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement” (http://haimbresheeth.com/gaza/an-open-letter-to-israel-academics-july-13th-2014/statement-by-israeli-academics-july-2014/).

4.    Our plea is to all people of conscience in Israel. You need to become engaged. The present political course is driving Israelis and Palestinians further apart and is leading us to an impending disaster worse than we are witnessing today. We all must stop nurturing extremism. Israelis and Palestinians have to live together in this land. God has put us here, we need to share it. The alternative is untenable.

5.    A stable peace can only be realized when justice, in accordance with international law, is achieved for both Israel and Palestine.

Let anyone with ears to hear, listen!

The Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem
July 30, 2014″

Warning to evacuate – Help? Now!

Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 10:46 AM (in Mountain Standard Time)
[Time in Gaza: 7:51 pm!]
Subject: Gaza – Catholic Church – a shelter – Please tell Israel not to bomb it.
To: john.baird@parl.gc.ca

“Dear Minister Baird,
I have just learned that a Catholic Church in Gaza has been contacted by the Israeli authorities with a warning to evacuate prior to a plan to bomb the local neighbourhood this evening (click here).

However, the church is a shelter for various people including older adults and disabled children. They cannot be moved from the church.

Please contact the Israeli authorities, explaining the situation and asking that they not bomb the church or any other such shelter for civilians.

Thank you for considering this request,

Sherry Ann
Edmonton, Alberta”

Action: Please write to Foreign Minister John Baird (see email address above) and use Twitter, and other social media as soon as possible.

Understanding others’ needs – How?

In this video posted by the Emergency Fund board (click here) in Israel, Robi Damelin, expresses a shared perspective that, “We must understand the needs of the other and find a way to stop this never ending cycle of violence”. She describes that her son, David, died as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.The Emergency Fund has been initiated as a collective effort by Combatants for Peace (click here), The Parent’s Circle (click here), and The Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum (click here).

To understand each other, here’s what you can do ‘here’. Because here and there only exist by virtue of the other. In other words, without “here”, “there” cannot exist.

We talk in Bethlehem beside the Israeli government's Separation Wall_16Dec2010 Photo credit: M.J.

We talk in Bethlehem beside the Israeli government’s Separation Wall_16 Dec. 2010 Photo credit: M.J.

-In Edmonton, join the 4th Rally and March for Gaza on Wed., 30 July 2014 at 6:30 pm (click here).

-In Canada, learn more about Canadian Friends of Sabeel and consider supporting their work for peace (click here). As a reminder, Sabeel is the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. The centre was founded by Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek in 1990 and works for justice, peace, and reconciliation in Palestine-Israel. The word, sabeel, is Arabic for ‘the way’ and also ‘a channel’ or ‘spring’.

-Sign this international petition (click here).

 

What inspires…amid each day’s news?

I’ve just read a reflective posting at the website of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) (click here). I found the posting inspiring – about Haneen Majadhle. She is a young woman on a journey with an insight about how “dialogue has helped her maintain hope that there can be change in this world”.

Wall art in TelAviv: Inspiration Art Festival_30 Dec. 2010 - Photo: Sherry Ann

Wall art in TelAviv: Inspiration Art Festival_30 Dec. 2010 – Photo: Sherry Ann

What inspires you?

Compassion for each other…

Have you heard about the Charter for Compassion? I find it helpful in times like these. I’ve endorsed it. If you wish to learn more about it, click here. If you wish to endorse it, click here.

Through the Charter for Compassion’s website, I found this short video (click here) that offers insight into compassion that is held by and between Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost family members as a result of the conflict. Together, they are known as a group as “Palestinian Israeli Bereaved Families for Peace” and as the “Parents Circle Family Forum” (click here). The group is a Charter Peace partner of the Charter for Compassion.

Charter Peace partner
Charter Peace partner

The video is titled, “We Don’t Want You Here.” “Here”, in a place of suffering. These families don’t want you to know the kind of suffering that they’ve known. What might we do to help them in that desire?

 

Human Rights – Here is a hand to help all stand up for Gaza.

AlQudsDayEdmntnAB_25Jul2014

Al-Quds Day Edmonton, AB_25 July 2014 – Photo: Sherry Ann

Edmonton, Alberta. 25 July 2014. We stood up, in support of international humanitarian law and international human rights law on the International Day of Al-Quds (click here); Al-Quds is also known as Jerusalem. We stood up to demonstrate our concern for those who are suffering and dying in Gaza. One person who spoke, Dr. Ghada Ageel, is from Gaza and spoke in personal terms (click here for her recent article). We were not at risk of dying, through this rally. But people died when they protested yesterday, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and near East Jerusalem (click here).

Some commentators are trying to make sense of the “sides” and who is to blame (for example, click here) regarding the hostilities in and around Gaza. However, I perceive that “sides” are no longer the point. Human suffering is the point.

Here, here is a hand…to help all stand up:

Globally, citizens are speaking out. See here. Sign this petition here.

Gary Paterson, the Moderator of the United Church of Canada (UCC), has begun to cry out (click here). I am hopeful still that the Moderator, representing the UCC, will release a public statement to Canadian society and to the federal government to speak on the world stage against the killing of civilians in and near Gaza. And to offer humanitarian and medical assistance to those who are suffering. Please consider contacting the Moderator via this page (here). Please write to Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and to your Member of Parliament here and here.

So much more is possible for our world (for example, click here).

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement is another way to ‘stand up’ (click here). The United Church of Canada’s campaign, “Unsettling Goods: Choose Peace in Palestine and Israel”, is an economic action in support of clear labelling of goods produced in the illegal Israeli settlements. By refusing to buy mislabeled products, people in one part of the world can support the growth of a just peace in Palestine and Israel.

To learn how you might choose to participate in the Unsettling Goods campaign:
Information about the campaign (here)
Choose how to participate (here)
Fact sheets regarding the three manufacturers (here): (i) Ahava; (ii) Keter Plastic; (iii) SodaStream
Letters for four Canadian retailers carrying the products of these three manufacturers (here): (a) Canadian Tire; (b) The Bay; (c) Home Depot; (d) Walmart Canada.
Map showing settlements, from Peace Now (here)
Information about the Israeli settlements (here)
Zatoun – Learn about fair trade olive oil and other products, in support of the Palestinian economy (here).

Action: Please share this posting and the postings of these past few days with family, friends, on Facebook, Twitter… The more that we know, the better.

Al-Quds Day 109 St. Edmonton_25 July 2014 Photo: Sherry Ann

Al-Quds Day 109 St. Edmonton_25 July 2014 Photo: Sherry Ann