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On the morning of Friday 31st October, my EAPPI team mate Emmi, from Finland, and I travelled north of our home base in Jayyus with our driver and mentor, Abed, to monitor an agricultural gate near the small village of Zeita.

We got there at 7:00am,the rain was pouring down. We decided to stay in the car for a while, hoping that the rain might ease up. We looked down towards the gate and saw two women sitting in the pouring rain, one with a dirty plastic sheet pulled over her and the other just sitting in the rain getting saturated. The gate is meant to open at 7:00am to let these women get into the Seam Zone to pick olives or other vegetables from the many greenhouses just a few hundred metres from the gate.

But the gate wasn’t going to open at 7:00am today, nor had it done so for many months. For some reason the soldiers didn’t feel that this gate was a high priority and they had been turning up pretty much anytime they felt like from 7:00am to 8:30am. Anyone wanting to get through the gate just had to make sure they got there early just in case the soldiers actually came on time, opening and closing the gate before you got there. On this occasion it meant sitting in the rain while you got wet to your underwear. No shelter is provided and the women sit on old discarded plastic buckets and bottles to stop themselves from sitting directly in the mud.

Women at Zeita Gate (3) C.Nielsen 01.11.2014

A small group of Palestinian women waiting to get into the Seam Zone to do a days work.

Life is hard for these women and though their smiles to us and each other shone brightly, many of them looked much older than they probably were. My Arabic is very poor but my team mate Emmi can communicate reasonably well with most people here. We tried to speak to one lady who asked our names and where we were from.

I wanted to know if she had any children so I put my hand out parallel to the ground but at a very short height hoping that she would understand that I was referring to her children. As soon as I did this she started crying. Emmi was able to find out that this woman was married with one child but her husband had died a few years ago, leaving her to live with her 27 year old son. Our driver, Abed, was also able to discover that her son had gone to a demonstration in the refugee camp in the nearby town of Tulkarm, and had been shot dead by the Israeli military and now the woman lives alone. She wakes up in the night afraid and on her own and now only darkness seems to fill her life.

As Abed told us this, tears started to well up in Emmi’s eyes and when the woman saw this she immediately reached into her pocket and handed a chocolate bar to Emmi saying “ Al Ham du Lilah!”, “Al Ham du Lilah!” meaning “Thanks be to God! Thanks be to God!” in order to comfort her.

Before we knew it we were being served tea, coffee and chocolate by all the women who had gradually gathered to get through the gate. One of them said she liked my fishing hat that I wear all the time. It is a dark blue, broad brimmed hat with a logo showing Fowlers Bay Eco Park – my all-time favourite fishing spot back home! It was so funny that they liked it that I gave it to them and pretty soon everyone was cracking up with laughter as they passed it around trying it on!

And this is the picture I keep getting here in the West Bank. People being forced to live under sorrow and oppression but never failing to be hospitable and share in the funny side of life.

Eventually the soldiers arrived and opened the gate. About 15 women and a few young boys passed through in order to do a day’s work. Working in the Seam Zone is problematic at the best of times. Suhad Hashem, from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), told us that getting medical help if you are in the Seam Zone is very difficult because ambulances are not allowed into the Seam Zone unless they go through the long process of the checkpoints. If you are in an emergency, then the ambulance must stop at the checkpoint and the person must be brought to the checkpoint from the other side where they have been injured, then go through the checkpoint and be loaded on to the ambulance and taken to hospital. A person injured or sick in the Seam Zone cannot be treated in Israel where better medical facilities are common.

There are stories of people dying in emergencies because they can’t get through the checkpoints quickly enough but a far greater problem is that people miss appointments and don’t get the medication they need in time to prevent their conditions getting worse, ultimately even leading to them dying prematurely of preventable causes.

If the state of Israel respected International Law, then these women would be better looked after, but as it is, vulnerable people like them are at the mercy of a system that is indifferent to their plight, just the opposite of what a nation that says it cares about human rights would be doing without having to have International monitors visit them to protect the people who need it most.

Life in the Seam Zone is tough, but that is just one part of the story of the Occupation.

CRAIG NIELSEN

DISCLAIMER

I am participating in a program as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving in the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained here are personal to me and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Council of Churches Australia or the World Council of Churches. If you would like to publish the information contained here (including posting on a website), or distribute it further, please first contact the EAPPI Communications Officer (eappi.communications@gmail.com) for permission. Thank you.

Zionist Double Speak

According to Benjamin Netanyahu, everyone knows that the pre-Six Day War borders between Israel and the West Bank are militarily indefensible for Israel. How one comes to such a conclusion is beyond me. If the pre-67 borders are indefensible then how is it that Israel managed to exist with those borders from 1949 to 1967 without being destroyed? How is it that Israel was even able to not only defend itself in the Six Day War when those borders were in place, but managed to defeat the Arab armies and actually increase its territory?

Apparently if Israel goes back to the borders it had with the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli military, the best equipped and trained defense force in the region by a mile, will suddenly not be able to defend the citizens of Israel from attack. Its 200 nuclear missiles will disarm themselves and the billions of dollars of military hardware paid for by the U.S. will become inoperable. If Israel goes back to the 67 borders then the international community, including the U.S., will not be able to stop the Arab nations from attacking the Zionist state. Despite the fact that both Hamas and Fatah (as well as all 21 Arab nations) have agreed to a full peace treaty and recognition of Israel if they go back to the pre-67 borders, the Zionist belief that all Arabs will attack Israel must be accepted by everyone.How is it that maintaining the occupations will deter Arab violence, when the Israelis maintain that they have been the victims of Arab violence and hatred while the occupation has been in place? How would ending the occupation act to inflame the Arabs even more? Is Netanyahu crazy?

Netanyahu must decide whether Israel means to permanently occupy the West Bank or not. His complaint that going back to the 67 borders will cut off the settlements from Israel is totally offensive. Did Israel not realize that from day one of the occupation? The words of Ariel Sharon in 1973 should clearly reveal Zionist duplicity on this matter:

“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement in between Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody will be able to tear it apart.”

The illegal settlements created by Israel since 1967 were made to end any chance of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu’s words only add further confirmation (as if any were needed) of the reality of  Zionist lies and duplicity. The statements by Netanyahu that Israel is ready to make generous concessions to the Palestinians is as offensive as it is false. Netanyahu needs to be reminded that allowing Palestinian rights to equality and self determination are not  generous gifts from Israel, but is what Israel is mandated to do by international law and the very word of God.

The real reason that Israel does not want to go back to the pre-67 borders is simply that it will have to give back part of what it has stolen. I have never come across a thief to this day that was happy to give back what they had taken so much trouble to steal. All thieves need to arm themselves against their enemies, their acts only create enemies and their “friends” (often just more thieves) desert them when trouble comes.

Zionist greed for Palestine knows no sense or reason. The 1947 partition plan was a “great deal” for them at the time. They were given 55% of the land when they consisted of only 30% of the population and over 80% of them had arrived in the last 25 years. But this was not enough for them. David Ben Gurion stated in his diaries:

“The Jewish State now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. Within this area it is not possible to solve the Jewish question. But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force which will lead us to our historic goal.”

After the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes in 1948, Israel was granted another 23% of Palestine even though this land had been obtained during the course of a war and hence was illegally acquired. Israel should have never been given this territory. Once again the Zionists were given preferential treatment.  But this was still not enough for them. The Zionist goal that Ben Gurion hinted at was the creation of a Zionist state that encompasses all of historic Palestine, has a population of Arabs that can never be more than 20% of the population (not the 45%to 50% that existed in 1947 and needed to be ethnically cleansed by the Zionists at that time) and was legally owned by Jewish people in a way that could never be achieved by non-Arabs in Israel no matter how long they have lived there.

Netanyahu’s claim that the Jewish people will not get a second chance, portray his utter rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel is no-one’s saviour. It is and never has been the key to the Jewish people’s survival. Fortunately for the Jewish people God will not reject them, but He will not indulge them in their colonialist program for ever. God’s desire for justice and equality for the Arabs of Palestine will be the undoing of the Zionist state unless they repent.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Human Shields

In 1985 the British singer, Sting, released his now famous song, “Russians”. In it he claimed that our only hope back then was to understand that the Russians love their children just as we do. The concept was that if the Russians love their children as we do then they will finally come to their senses and move in a direction so as to avoid the mutually assured destruction of a nuclear World War III.

Sting’s conviction that the Russians must surely be just like us who love our children above all else is not entertained by Christian Zionists with regard to Arabs, with particular reference to Muslims and especially to Hamas. These forces of the anti-Christ do not have the normal emotions towards their children as we do.  They think nothing of forcing their women and children to take a bullet in the head for them, so they can live on to kill more Jews another day.

The issue of the use of human shields as a deterrent for hostile fire in armed conflict has raised its head again with the allegations that Osama Bin Laden’s wife offered herself as a human shield to protect her husband. The vast majority of the writing on the issue of human shields  in our media fails to recognise a large number of important facts.

Firstly, almost all the cases of the use of human shields involve armed combatants forcibly using civilians from the opposing side as a deterrent to enemy fire. The use of people as human shields from the same side is extremely limited and really occurs only in cases of asymmetric conflict where one side is forced to fight a guerrilla war against a much more militarily powerful opponent. The forcible use of civilians from one’s own side as human shields is virtually unheard of and extensive reports on this matter by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have found no evidence of the forcible use of civilians as human shields by militants on the same side as the civilians. This is true in the case of Hamas or any other militant faction of the Palestinian resistance.

Apart from the obvious ethical issues, the reason for this is simply that no guerrilla resistance force, particularly like Hamas which is trapped with the civilian population in Gaza, would risk a revolt from the 1.5 million strong , as is the case in  Gaza, civilian population that would inevitably ensue if Hamas embarked on a program of forcing Palestinian civilians, women and children included, to act as human shields. One must remember that Hamas, along with its independent and Christian candidates, were elected to power by the Gaza population in 2006 in elections that were considered free and fair by such international monitoring organisations as the Carter Center.

Secondly, over the last decade, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and B’Tslelm (an Israeli Human Rights group) have documented the widespread forcible use of Palestinian civilians as human shields in various military conflicts by the I.D.F. The evidence was so overwhelming that even the I.D.F. was forced to prosecute Israeli soldiers who were caught using Palestinian civilians in this manner. This behaviour of Israeli soldiers raises some questions about the use of Gazan citizens as human shields by Hamas. If Hamas militants are so indifferent to the lives of their fellow citizens of Gaza, then why would any Israeli soldier feel that a Gazan citizen would be an effective human shield against the attacks of Hamas extremists? If the Hamas militants are as evil and heartless as our media continually suggest, surely they would see a Gazan citizen being led in front of a group of Israeli soldiers as very little deterrent to them opening fire on the Israelis. If I were an Israeli soldier and I believed that Hamas are as evil as the media say they are, I would not be very confident in the ability of a Gazan to act as a deterrent to attacks by Hamas, yet the use of Palestinians as human shields by the I.D.F. has been documented as being widespread. Perhaps the Israeli soldiers aren’t really that convinced by the stories of Hamas being so indifferent to their fellow citizens.

Thirdly, what has been documented about the use of human shields by Hamas begins with an incident in November 2006,  when Palestinian women volunteered as human shields to protect Hamas gunmen  in Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. A Hamas spokesman is alleged to have said that  a crowd of women gathered  in response to an appeal on the local radio station for women to protect the Hamas fighters. The tactic succeeded and it has been claimed that this inspired Hamas to use the tactic whenever there have been reports of imminent targeted assassinations of Hamas officials by the Israelis or in other situations where the I.D.F. threatened to attack. This tactic was a desperate last resort. Its success in that case has not deterred Israelis to any large degree since then according to the Israelis themselves. The I.D.F. has obviously decided to go ahead and kill Hamas militants even when they are surrounded by human shields. The Israelis claim that the high mortality count of Palestinian children as a result of I.D.F. attacks is due to the continued use of human shields by Hamas. Two things follow from this: the obvious ineffectiveness of the use of human shields by Hamas militants as a deterrent to Israeli fire has somehow evaded the notice of the Islamic militants in Gaza (its not working!) and the Israelis have decided to attack despite the use of human shields, willfully making the choice to kill civilians in Gaza (they “know” human shields are being used). The ethics of both sides should be challenged, not just Hamas.


Lastly, resistance to Hamas by Gazan’s is more common than represented by our media. The Goldstone report tells of a case where Hamas militants were chased away by Palestinian civilians when they noticed that the militants were planning to set up mortar fire against the Israelis in a position too close to the civilian’s home. Gazan Youth resistance groups have openly challenged Hamas on their websites. Hamas is not powerful enough to stifle dissent and resistance from all other Palestinian groups in Gaza.

Islamic militants were not the cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict; they are a product of it. The siege of Gaza is an ideal breeding ground for extremism and terrorism. The Israelis know this yet continue to provoke the Palestinians to resistance, legitimate or otherwise, in both the West Bank, with the continuation of settlement construction and a raft of illegal activities designed to confiscate land, and in Gaza in order to demonise the Palestinians  before the world and gain the approval of the western media in the Israelis program to deprive the Palestinian people of their basic human rights.

The violence in Israel-Palestine continues because of the age long habit of the west in placating the Zionist state of Israel. Palestinian resistance will continue until this habit is broken and justice is seen to be  done for all the victims of terror; Islamic or Zionist.

Jesus said, “If you, then,though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Unconditional Acceptance or Unconditional Support.

Over the course of  the many discussions that I have had with Christian Zionists about the Zionist state of Israel, I have come to believe that one of the major confusions  they have is the difference between unconditional acceptance and unconditional support. Without doubt the scriptures teach that God unconditionally accepted the Jewish people in Old Testament times. Both in the wanderings of Moses generation in the wilderness and during the exile in 586 BC, God was faithful to His covenant promise with the Children of Israel. Yet the very  wanderings in Moses day and the exile in 586 BC point to the undeniable fact that God did not unconditionally support the Hebrews. Both those episodes were instances of God chastising the Jewish people for not living up to their responsibilities in the Mosaic covenant. God did not unconditionally support the Jewish people in the land of Israel anymore than  loving parents as we know them today would support their child regardless of the ethics of that child’s behaviour.

Would any of us, while proclaiming to love our children, support them in their plans to rob or murder? Would we be loving parents if we did? This point may seem trivially obvious but, has somehow become a major stumbling block to the Christian cheer squad of Zionism. If we are convinced that God did not unconditionally support  Israel, how is it that we think that God expects us to condone every action of the Zionist state today? Does God command us to support things that He does not? I think not!

Christian Zionist discussions of the return of the Jewish people to Palestine rarely, if ever, mention the concept of exile in a Biblical manner. Exile occurs due to the sins of the Jewish people and is a spiritual problem. To return from exile can only occur if God has declared that the purpose of the exile is over. A famous Jewish Rabbi, Joseph Haim Sonnenfeld (1848 – 1932) said:

“God has exiled us on account of our sins, and exile is a hospital for the Jewish people. It is inconceivable that we take control of our land before we are completely cured. We are certain that when we are healed of our sins, God will not hesitate for a moment, and will deliver us Himself. How could we be in such haste to leave hospital in the face of mortal danger, a world wide danger that hangs over our heads, God forbid?”

Christian Zionists pay no heed to the warnings of scripture and Jewish tradition that tell Jews not to try and end the exile themselves. The creation of the Zionist state in 1948 or General Allenby’s entrance to Jerusalem in December of 1917 in no way declare the exile to be over according to the Bible or Orthodox Jewish theological tradition. In Old Testament times, entrance to Israel by the Jewish people was always accompanied by prophets of the caliber of Moses, Ezra and Nehemiah. Only the word of God, spoken with authority by His prophets was good enough to give the Jewish people confidence to come out of exile and re-enter the Promised Land. The question could rightly be asked, “By whose authority can we say that the exile is over?’ The very existence of the Oaths of the Talmud imply t that the Jewish people themselves have the responsibility not to try and re-enter the land without God’s blessing. The partial success of the Zionists in retaking the land of Israel is no more an automatic sign of God’s endorsement of Zionism than the existence of mega churches is a sign of God’s endorsement of the theology of the Pastors of those congregations.

Over half the Jewish population choose not to live in Israel despite the financial incentives that the Zionists offer. Hundreds of thousands of strictly observant (haredi) Jews do not believe that the exile is over either. The more land the state of Israel takes from the Palestinians, the more tenuous the hold the Israelis have on their own territory. The occupation of the West Bank is a sickness of the state of Israel. It sucks the spiritual life out of the Jews of Israel, brutalizing everyone touched by it.

Unconditional support is the last thing that Israel needs. Like any rebellious child, the state of Israel needs rigorously enforced boundaries to live in spiritual health and well being.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

No Peace Without Justice.

The savage killing of a Jewish family by a Palestinian Arab in the Israeli settlement of Itamar in the West Bank, evoked feelings of disgust, anger and sorrow in all who care about justice. This was not the first time that deadly attacks on settlers have occurred in this settlement.

What has not been reported is the massive crackdown that has been inflicted on West Bank Arabs by Israeli forces since the attack. The Israeli military raided homes and arrested around 300 people (did they really have 300 suspects for the attack?) as well as many instances of Israeli settlers taking revenge on innocent Palestinians who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (which means all of them at every time according to the doctrines of religious Zionists be they Christian or Jewish). Nor is the fact that Palestinian deaths at the hands of the I.D.F. and Israeli settlers (of whom the Palestinian Authority has no power over) occur on a regular basis in the West Bank and greatly outnumber the amount of Israelis who are killed by Palestinians. The Israeli Government has responded to recent attempts to be more reasonable in peace negotiations with the Palestinians by saying that they are “in no mood to talk of peace while they are burying their dead”. Palestinians, however, are expected to comply with any demand with regards to the peace process regardless of the fact that they are continually burying their dead, or be labeled as obstructionist.

On February 25th 1994, (the day celebrating the feast of Purim that year) Baruch Goldstien entered the Cave of the Patriarchs where Muslims were gathered in prayer. He proceeded to murder 29 of them and wounded a further 125. Purim has long been a day of celebration whereby extremist Zionists in the West Bank in particular feel they are entitled to vent their hatred of Arabs.The Israeli Government totally condemned the act but the extremist settler community still hail Goldstien as a hero. Goldstien was killed by Muslim worshipers who grappled with him, disarmed him and beat him to death. At Goldstien’s funeral, Rabbi Yaacov Perrin celebrated the achievements of the slain gunmen saying that “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” In the rioting that followed, 25 more Palestinians and 5 Israelis lost their lives.

Such is the brutal legacy of the violence and hatred that is the reality of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. I wonder if we can really be surprised by this legacy given the nature of these settlements. The burning sense of injustice felt by Palestinians who have, for 4 decades, watched while their homelands have been taken from them is met head on by the almost insane zeal of extremist settlers whose sense of entitlement to the land outweighs all other considerations. The settlements show in stark detail the reality of the consequences of colonialism however it is justified in the minds of those who consider that they have an entitlement to that which does not belong to them. I challenge anyone to read the websites of the extremist settlers in the West Bank and see if they are any different in their insanity and violence to even the most militant Islamist group.

Recently the U.S. had another chance to put pressure on the Israelis to end settlement construction in the West Bank, but once again they failed to act. How can the Palestinians feel anything but betrayal and abandonment by the West when the worlds only superpower will not move a finger to help them against Israel whom has violated some 69 U.N. resolutions while at the same time the U.S. attacks Arab countries that have broken only one decree of the United Nations?

We need to seriously ask our leaders to explain what kind of just solution to the Israel-Palestine they would be willing to submit to if they were the Palestinians. Or maybe we need to give up on our leaders and mobilize ourselves to bring justice and peace to the Middle East. The provocative nature of the settlements will not ease or disappear. Even Ronald Reagan recognised that they were an impediment to the peace process. The U.S. can not have it both ways. They can not continue to veto U.N. resolutions declaring settlement construction to be illegal and still pretend that they disapprove of that same provocative activity.

The legacy of hatred, violence and injustice that has been the inevitable consequence of Israeli expansionism in territories never allotted to them by God or the international community can only end when our desire for justice for all people outweighs all other considerations.

Craig Nielsen
ACTION FOR PALESTINE

The Samaritans

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most well known parables of Jesus in the New Testament scriptures. The parable has for many years been used as a means to challenge the self righteous to understand the nature of the command, “love thy neighbour”. The searing challenge to our easy definitions of loving ones fellow human beings that comes from this parable is derived from the answer that Jesus gives to the question, “who is my neighbour?”.

The explanation of this parable takes place between the fervent “expert in the law” and Jesus, when he first asks Jesus how he may obtain eternal life. Jesus responds by asking the “expert” what the Law has to say about such matters. After answering correctly, Jesus further responds to the “expert” by telling him that if he does these things he will live. The scriptures reveal that the man, wanting to justify himself, then asked Jesus the question that we all would rather Jesus did not answer in the way he did. Rather than telling the man who his neighbour is, enabling the man to then seek out such people, bestowing a selfless gift of devotion to them so as to obtain eternal life, Jesus challenged the man to understand rather what it was to be somebody else’s neighbour, in a manner that ran counter to the prevailing prejudices of those days.

The title of the parable reveals the prejudice that lies behind the reality of this famous story told by Jesus in response to the questions of “an expert in the law”. The parable would be better described as, The Parable of the Samaritan. The inclusion of the term “good” reflects the innate prejudice that has been carried down the ages towards the people that have dwelled in the region of Samaria.

It has long been understood that the sting in the tail of Jesus’ parable is that the man described in the story that behaved as a neighbour to the man who had been robbed and beaten, was a Samaritan. Samaritans were despised by “pure blood” Jews and the feelings were mutual. Jesus deliberately chose a man in the story, to stand as an example of a real neighbour, from those people whom the Jewish audience would never have naturally considered to be “good”. The Samaritans lived in the northern, mountainous regions of what is known today as the West Bank. That region had previously been over-run by the Assyrians as they conquered the rebellious Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Assyrians had intermarried with the Israelites and the resulting “pollution of the descendants of Abraham” meant that the Samarians were looked down upon by self righteous Jews. The tale has further bite due to the fact that we are told that both a priest and a Levite (highly respected figures in the Jewish culture of the day) happened upon the man who had been robbed and left for dead but cared nothing for his plight. The Samaritan, however, takes pity on the man and deals with him as a true neighbour.

The deep offence that this parable would have had for the “expert in the law” could hardly be understated. The term “expert in the law” is used to signify all those who consider themselves to be justified in their hatred for certain types of people and hence justified in their non-neighbourly actions towards them. To portray one of those for whom the self righteous keep their most fervent prejudice, as being the real neighbour to the man, and pleasing to the Lord in the process, is the ultimate counter culture parable. God brings low the self righteous by lifting up those very ones for whom the self righteous justifiably point the finger of scorn. The prejudices of the self righteous (however well founded the “experts in the law” may think they are in having them) become a millstone around their necks. Jesus exposes their prejudices and treats them with incomparable disdain.

The intensity of the irony to this story has not waned over the centuries. Never more intense is that paradox in the very region of Samaria today. Samaria is inhabited today by what could only be called the most demonised people in the world. The daily violation of their rights to self determination in their place of birth, a right considered obligatory for everyone else in the world, goes on without a blink of an eye by the self righteous purveyors of power in the free world. So intense is the prejudice against them that any who openly deny them the right to determine their own future in the land they have inhabited for centuries, can do so with complete confidence that they are behaving in the Godliest fashion possible. To even contemplate doing otherwise would be proof positive to the peers of the righteous that the devil had deluded them into rebellion against God’s plan of salvation. Any hint of sympathy, let alone solidarity, for the Palestinian’s plight is deemed Satanic. Like a litmus test of ones devotion to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; if concern for Palestinian rights is detected, warning signals go up and a legion of pointed fingers and hysterical voices are raised as one to immediately denounce the evil doer amongst us!

Godly wisdom tells us that all Palestinians and their supporters are either terrorists or complicit with terrorism, just as all those who opposed Apartheid in South Africa were communists, long haired anti-establishment hippies and general undesirables. Solidarity with such evil doers is equivalent to being a terrorist sympathiser. To hint at even just a freeze on illegal settlement projects in the West Bank is ultimate proof that your heart is sided with the devil. Nothing could be more reasonable and plain. All suffering of the Palestinian people is brought on by themselves. They are the consummate case of a people who are their own worst enemies. They foolishly elect leaders who are the cheer leaders for genocide and hatred of God’s people, just as the Devil has always done throughout history. Palestinians are the enemies of God by their own choice despite Israel’s continued attempts at trying to make peace with them; the Jewish people bending over backwards, making concession after concession to them while the Jihadists spit in the face of reason and justice in their lust for Jewish blood! Such a people can never be given their rights til they prove themselves worthy by submitting to the will of God via His chosen people, the Zionists. Palestinians must relinquish their demonically inspired desire to have rights to self determination in the land that God has given to the Zionists as an unconditional possession in an eternal covenant. Injustice to Palestinians with regards to land rights in Eretz Yisrael is as contradictory a notion as one plus one equals three. All resistance to Zionism is illegitimate and equivalent to rebellion against God Himself. The United Nations vindication of Palestinian grievances is in opposition to God and has only been thwarted by the Christian nation of the U.S. There is no oppression of Palestinians by the State of Israel; only a democratic nation acting in fairness, compassion and justice towards a savage and uncivilised people that have hatred of Jews inbred in them.

The Zionist narrative of a heroic people, the survivors of the Holocaust, bravely creating a home for themselves in the land of their fore-fathers against the pitiless anti-Semitism of the Arab world is accepted as Gospel truth. The Palestinian story of their ethnic cleansing and dispossession, at the hands of the Zionists, from the land the Palestinians and their ancestors have lived in for many hundreds of years, despite the fact that Arabs played no part in the crimes of the Nazis, is silenced completely and any attempt to revive it is looked upon with suspicion of anti-Semitic motives. The easily verifiable truth that anti-Semitism was never a part of elite or popular Arab culture, as it was in Europe, has been kept hidden from the gaze of the general public. The good relationship that Jews and Palestinian Arabs enjoyed before the Zionist invasion, as well as the overwhelming religious Jewish resistance to Zionism, is likewise kept well hidden. The destruction of 25,000 Palestinian homes in Gaza and the West Bank is fully deserved and morally respectable in the eyes of the leaders of the world’s democracies. Only Palestinians commit acts of terror against the democratic nation of Israel (in no way provoked by the actions of the Israelis but clear evidence of the Palestinians innate lack of worth as a people and displaying to the world that the withholding of Palestinian so-called rights is entirely justified). The Zionist State only wishes to live in peace and defend its borders. Surrounded by hostile Arabs who have no other wish but to push the Jews into the sea, Israel has no choice but defend itself from terrorism.

The unholy alliance of Islam and the secular left is submitted as even further proof (as if any more were necessary) of the demonic origins of Palestinian Solidarity movements, ignoring the alliance of the religious Christian Right with a secular Zionism which as been at war with Orthodox Judaism for one hundred years. Palestinian Christians must understand that God loves Palestinians despite being silent (if not applauding) as Israeli bulldozers demolish their houses. This is the Gospel of God’s love to Palestinians. It is a Gospel that assuages the guilt of European anti-Semitism by placing it at the feet of a people not involved in the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

The profound challenge of this parable to treat one another with compassion finds its roots right at the very heart of the story of the Jewish people. The message of the Exodus was that Jews should be merciful to non-Jews in the land just as God had been merciful to the Jews while they where in slavery in Egypt. They were to resist the temptation to demonise those different from them even as the Egyptians had previously demonised the Hebrews during the time of their bondage in that land.

The interpretation of this parable by the great theologian, Karl Barth, gives even greater insight. Barth sees that the parable was meant to show the “expert in the law” that it was he that lay naked in the road; battered and helpless and that Jesus was the Samaritan that behaved as a brother to him. In effect the parable says that we can not be truly merciful unless we have first received mercy. How can the Zionists be merciful to their Palestinian brothers and sisters when in their eyes all the world hates the Jewish people with merciless hatred? The answer is that they must first abandon their view that the world is or has always been merciless to the Jewish people. Only then will they give up their “destructive entitlement” in the land promised by God, by mercy and grace, to the descendants of Abraham.

Who could be more demonised than these Palestinian Arabs? Perhaps only their current oppressors, some 65 years ago when the Jewish people were demonised by a nation from civilised, Christian Europe many hundreds of miles from Palestine. How would Jesus tell this parable (The Parable of the Good Palestinian Arab) to a Jewish audience in the Knesset today? Who would be more offended by it than the Zionists and their Christian sycophants? When Jesus came to the land of Palestine the first time, he ate with sinners, tax collectors and harlots. He spoke with gentile women, Samaritans and all those who incurred the wrath of the Godly. He nullified the prejudices against them with this great parable and validated their rights to fairness and justice; determined on the same basis as such things are determined for those who pour scorn on the very ones whom Jesus stood up for and scripture calls us to do, as Jesus did then, in our time in the land of Palestine.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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