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“That which is hateful to you, do not do to others. ” Rabbi Hillel (1st Century BC)

Religious Zionists of any description love to claim entitlement for the Zionist state to the land of Palestine based on a superficial understanding of the promises of God to Abraham as revealed in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament.

Proverbs 24:17 tells the descendants of Abraham “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth. And let not thy heart be glad when he is overthrown;”

Israeli pilots apparently found no problems in dumping bombs on Gazan children during the day and then going back home to celebrate Hanukkah, during operation Cast Lead, with their own families.  The attack commenced at 11:30 in the morning of December 27th 2008. At this time of day the children of Gaza are on the streets  as this is the time when the change of shift between morning school and afternoon school takes place. Children are either going home from school or going to school from home.

But to claim such callousness from Israelis is tantamount to anti-Semitism. Much safer to accuse Palestinians of child murder even though far, far more Palestinian children have died at the hands of the IDF than Israeli children have died at the hands of Palestinians. This is, of course, because (as every Zionist will tell you) Palestinians care little for their own children, using them as human shields at the drop of a hat. Zionist ideology has taught Israel’s youth that Palestinian life is at best worthless. Arabs are not worthy recipients of true compassion, let alone equal rights with Israeli Jews. Christian Zionism teaches us that Palestinian life is demonic. How can once cry at the destruction of the devil? All those who do cry for such people are surely in league with the forces of the anti-Christ!

Genesis chapter 18 relates the story of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleaded with God to spare the wicked city if only ten righteous men could be found. Sadly there are no Abraham’s in Israel today. If there are any, the Zionist state does not esteem them as it says it does in the case of their founding patriarch. Zionism seeks to gain the inheritance of Abraham while resisting the spirit and heart of God’s mandate for the descendants of Abraham. Zionist Israel claims that no amount of righteous or innocent people could ever warrant mercy for the citizens of Gaza. Even an “eye for an eye” has been usurped by a mentality that was expressed by a Rabbi at Zionist mass murderer Baruch Goldstein’s funeral when he said that “one million Arab lives are not worth one Jewish fingernail.” But we should ignore such ravings. It is only the ravings of Arab extremists that should be taken as a true picture of Arab mentality.

Images of Gazan children who have been blown to pieces are never allowed to invoke compassion for Palestinians. If ever such images are shown, the context is always that these things happened because of the insanity and intransigence of groups like Hamas. Responsibility can never lay at the feet of the Israelis. This is an unwritten law in our society. Operation Cast Lead is the fault of Hamas we are told. It is as if the Israeli planes were manned by Islamic militants themselves. Whatever the scenario, Israelis are free to kill Palestinians at will. Any retaliation by Palestinians is quickly portrayed as evidence of the innately violent nature of Arabs toward Jews. Arabs should take their comeuppance and submit to the demands of civilised Israelis. No discussion of the reasons for Palestinian grievances are tolerated. The concept that Palestinian violence might have been provoked by Israeli dispossession and oppression of Arabs will receive the quickest accusations of anti-Semitic motivation that one can imagine.

But such lies can never last. I have as much faith in the ultimate decency of Jewish people (be they Israelis or not) as I do of Arab people or any people in the world today. Israelis will never be free while they continue to oppress their Arab cousins.

In the meantime, I think the words of Miko Peled, son of Matti Peled the Israeli General become peace activist, are sound advise for my Christian brethren who unconditionally support the Zionist state.

“So those people who want to associate themselves with Israel, Zionism and drape themselves in the Zionist flag – the flag that has come to symbolise intolerance, hatred, racism and brutality – they can feel free to do so. But they need to know this:

that when the trials begin and the tribunals take their place, and when the truth and reconciliation commission begins its work and they are finally shamed into admitting they were wrong, they need to remember to go down on their knees and beg forgiveness from the people they so greatly wronged.

They need to realise that we will never forget them and that their conscience will never allow them to forget that they supported the killings, that they draped themselves in the flag and that they mocked the bereaved.

The rest of us will move on in line with the rest of the Middle East which will follow the example of the people of Egypt to create something that will surely be a tremendous accomplishment – a democratic, secular state in our own shared homeland –  a state where Muslims, Christians and Jews live as equals and educate their children to love their homeland with its multitude of cultures, its rich history and its promising future.”

Peled. M, The Generals Son. 2011

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Christian Zionism and Palestinian Christian Arabs.

A few months ago I spoke to a Christian Pastor whose family had fled to Gaza in 1948. I pulled him aside after his talk to ask him the truth about how Hamas treats Christians in Gaza. He told me that Hamas was not really the problem. The oppression experienced by Gazans at the hands of the Zionist government of Israel does not discriminate with regards to religious belief. Muslims, Christians and secular Arabs all share in the suffering in Gaza. The Pastor told me that he thought the blockade of Gaza and Operation Cast Lead had only consolidated Hamas’ hold on Gaza, and that there were now even  more extreme groups in Gaza than Hamas.

Any hope of removing Hamas by the same  process that Hamas was elected to power in 2006 has been destroyed. What the real intentions of the Israeli government in dealing with Gaza in the manner they have are a mystery to me. Here we are in 2011 and Hamas shows no sign of giving up its resistance to the Zionists.  Would Israel officially recognise the Palestinian peoples right to a state of their own with safe and secure borders if Hamas laid down its arms? Would Israel stop its construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank if Hamas recognised Israel? I don’t think so.


I saw a photograph of a Baptist church right next to a Mosque in Gaza on the net just yesterday. Apparently members of the respective religious groups are not at each others throats. If anyone persecutes the Christians of Gaza (apart from the Israelis) it is the wealthy Christian Zionists in the West who will not make a sound about the sufferings of their brethren. In my country, Pentecostal churches will give the stage of their mega-churches to the few misguided Arab Christians that take on the doctrines of Christian Zionism while ignoring the testimony of the tens of thousands of Arab Christians in Israel and the Occupied territories simply because their stories don’t conform to the narratives of Christian Zionism. We are meant to believe that Arabs persecute God’s people, not the other way around.

The racist attitude of Christian Zionists towards Arabs crosses religious barriers. Palestinian Arab Christians can not be trusted to tell the truth about issues like the ethnic cleansing in 1948 or even just the history of Arab occupation of Palestine in the last 150 years. Palestinian Arab Christians are second class citizens in God’s Kingdom. The only Arab Christian that tells the truth is one that is enlightened by the teachings of John Hagee. I am quite sure that many Muslim extremists think that the only good westerner is a Muslim westerner…maybe. But we all know that Christian Fundamentalists are nothing like Islamic Fundamentalists. Or are they?

A documentary is about to be released by the name of  “Pentecostals in Palestine.” The documentary follows the story of a group of pro-Israel Pentecostals who traveled to the West Bank to see for themselves the conditions that people are forced to live  under due to the military occupation of the Zionists. Though I have only seen a small portion of the footage of the doco, it seems that the group from the U.S. was greatly shocked by what they saw to the point of making some radical changes to their theology and politics. This is highly commendable in my opinion but one aspect of the documentary (and remember I have only seen promos of the whole documentary) that was a bit disturbing was that the Christians mainly changed their minds when they saw that there were large numbers of Arab Christians that were suffering as a result of the occupation. It seemed that the suffering of non-Christian Arabs in the occupied territories might not have been enough to sway the minds of these Christians. Still, I will have to wait until the documentary is finally released to make a final judgment. The point is that  Christian Zionists betray their brethren’s suffering in Palestine, and it seems that even when they do finally recognise the injustices that occur in the occupied territories, they still end up discriminating on the basis of religious belief even then. Why can we not show solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine while at the same time recognise that the suffering and loss of non-Christian Palestinians (and Jews be they Zionist or not) is equally unjust and hurtful in God’s view?

If our theology leads us in a direction that causes us to become blind and deaf to the injustices that go on in our world, them our theology is flawed no matter how big, powerful and wealthy the church and Pastor is that is telling us these “Godly truths”.

Craig Nielsen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ACTION FOR PALESTINE

The Legacy of Oppression in Palestine.

Supporters of the current policies of the Zionist State of Israel point to the situation in Gaza as proof as to why Israel can not afford to allow a Palestinian state of any kind to exist until the Palestinians somehow prove themselves to be worthy of such an honour.

They point to the brutality of Hamas militants and other extremists as justification for the oppressive policies of the Israeli state. “What else can Israel do?” they say. Such people seem to forget that self determination is a right, and a right is something you do not have to earn. What sort of behaviour do they think people will exhibit when their rights are continually denied? What behaviour did the Zionists themselves exhibit such that they earned the right to statehood in Palestine? Zionist terrorism in the British Mandate period (when Jews in Israel suffered the oppression of British policies that amounted to collective punishment against Jews) is well documented.

Was it the Holocaust that gave Zionists the right to self determination in Palestine? Do some people groups need to first become victims of atrocities before they are granted the same rights that we in the west take for granted? I think not.

Arab or Islamic extremists were not the cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict any more than the Black Panthers in the U.S. were responsible for the creation of slavery, discrimination and racism against Negroes in the U.S. or Aboriginal Land rights activists in Australia were responsible for the dispossession of Aboriginals in Australia that occurred at the hands of British colonialism. Nelson Mandela and the ANC were not responsible for the creation of Apartheid in South Africa.

Hamas and other Arab or Islamic extremists are the product of the Israel-Palestine conflict, not the cause of it. Those groups (with their hostility and violence towards Jewish people) simply did not exist before the advent of Zionist colonialism in Palestine. Religious Zionists who call for the extermination of Palestinian men, women and children did not exist then either. Those who do not grasp this fundamental reality will never make sense of the situation in the Middle East and hence will never understand the nature of any real solution.

What do we expect as a reasonable outcome of the conditions now experienced by the citizens of Gaza? A society under siege and cut off from the rest of the world. Do we really believe that such a situation is conducive to the creation of pacifism or democracy? Have such conditions anywhere else in the world been able to create such things? Conditions of despair and hopelessness make fertile soil for the voices of revenge and violence. Is anyone surprised that Gaza does not produce 1.5 million Zionists? Did Operation Cast Lead endear the citizens of Gaza to the state of Israel? Apparently not, yet the Zionist state is once again gearing up for another round of destruction in Gaza. Why do they think another episode of murdering Palestinian civilians will solve anything this time when it has clearly only strengthened the resolve of both moderates and extremists to continue to resist the Zionist state in the present?

If we do not approach the Israel-Palestine conflict with a sincere desire to listen to the basic, historic grievance of the Palestinian people, we can be assured that violence and horror will continue in this part of the world. What can Israel do? They can acknowledge the pain of the Palestinian people when they suffered the terrible dispossession of 1948. They can acknowledge the wrongs they have committed against the indigenous Arab population. They can stop perpetuating the odious lie that Israel was a land with no people for a people with no land. They can reciprocate the acknowledgment of the Palestinian people in 1993 that Israel has the right to exist with safe and secure borders. They can acknowledge the legitimacy of International Law that deems the occupation of the West Bank with its Jewish only settlements, Israeli only highways, checkpoints and separation barrier as being illegal. This would be a brilliant start and would not require Israel giving up once square metre of land that was not given to it by international law. I am certain such acknowledgments would bring a lasting peace within a very short period of time.

But Israel is drunk with power. Power that has been inflated by the continued empowerment of the U.S. and the west. And the powerful never just hand over their power; that would require a type of wisdom never seen by politicians. Anyone who empowers anyone else to commit crimes against humanity is no true friend, but is exploiting the other party just as surely as night follows day. The U.S. in reality is no friend of Israel.

The open-air prison that is Gaza will continue to fill the need for justification felt by the supporters of the Zionist state of Israel. The continued oppression of the Gazans will undoubtedly provoke some to violence and this violence will be used by the self righteous amongst us to say yes to yet more oppression of the 1.5 million inhabitants of that tiny piece of real estate. Sanity and humility must prevail. Put yourself in the shoes of the powerful, the ones who have the power to make real steps towards reconciliation and justice. What would you do? If you are a Christian…what would Jesus do?

Craig Nielsen
ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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