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″

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