I really don’t know exactly what to say. I find the violent and increasingly aggressive actions of Israel appalling, especially Israel’s outright disregard for Lebanese civilians. I thank Marko for his recent post and thoughts about Israel’s aggressive response [I would link to him but I don’t want certain readers of this blog to leave nasty comments on his blog]. I hope Christians would use this time to begin to rethink their outright or implicit support of the State of Israel.
A recent article in the NY Times was entitled “Bush Will Not Tell Israel to Halt Offensive.” Duh. Did we really think Bush, or many other Conservative/Fundamentalist Christians would even begin to question Israel on anything? Nope – you have to leave it up to the Presbyterians and Mainliners, and then watch us get burned at the stake for even proposing to begin to investigate the possibility of divesting. All of a sudden we become anti-semites and we have to offer a public apology and take back our words. Now, I’m all for interfaith relations, dialogue and the works. I think unity between people of different faiths is crucial to bringing about the kingdom of God in the here-and-now. But perhaps there are times when there is something greater than unity? Perhaps there are times when justice and compassion must come first. Perhaps the prophetic words that speak the most truth will not bring about unity, perhaps they will be hard to say, and hard to hear.
I’ve mentioned a quote on this blog before, and I believe it is more poignant now than ever: “Jews were innocent in their suffering; they are not innocent in their power.” Israel is the most powerful military force in the Middle East, and probably second in the world only to their closest ally, the United States. It is unexcusable for Israel to play the “Oh poor us, oh poor us”-card anymore. I am saddened by the violent acts committed against Israel, and to see the pictures of both Israeli and Lebanese children (like in the above photos, a Lebanese child on the left, an Israeli child on the right) and families who have been injured and killed by the recent attacks. I do not think it is right for Hezbollah to be firing rockets into Israeli towns. But Israel’s response has been so imbalanced it is amazing. In response to the capture of 2 Israeli soldiers, the State of Israel’s military response has caused the death of an additional 13 Israelis and over 80 Lebanese civilians. It is time for more people to begin calling into question the practices of the Israeli “Defense” Forces.
I can only imagine what the immediate future of the Middle East is with the violence in Gaza, now in Lebanon, and the ever-tightening grip on the people of the West Bank/Occupied Territories. A Third Intifada seems much more a reality – and I think of my friends and host-‘family’ in the West Bank and wonder how they are doing, what they’re thinking, how they will respond and if they are safe. There is much more to write, more questions I have, but I want to as you to pray for the Palestinians, the Israelis and the Lebanese. Pray for those in the Middle East. Pray for Ehud Olmert. Pray for Hezbollah. Pray for Hamas and its leaders. Pray and be well informed. And that may well mean reading sources even other than CNN or the BBC. I’ve listed a few below that can be helpful to present another side of the story: