Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Inappropriate Response

The news coming from Israel and Gaza is not good. A truce that had existed between Hamas and Israel ended recently without being renewed. Hamas began rocket attacks, though to this point only 1 person has been killed. Israel, as is often the case, has reacted with zealous militancy, launching air strikes that have killed more than 200, and injured more than 600 more. Some of these people are likely Hamas militants, but many others could be innocents.

As a Christian, I am cognizant of our history of oppression of Jews. This history makes it difficult to condemn the actions of Israel, when taken in self-defense. Still, as a Christian, I cannot, stand back and refrain from commenting on what is an inappropriate and disproportionate response to those attacks.

I pray that both sides will back down, and begin talking again. I also pray that the Israeli's will suspend their blockades that keeps food and supplies from reaching the Palestinians. The Israeli response has done little to protect them.

This is an ongoing situation, that has been festering now for decades. It is a situation that we need to push our leaders to resolve. It won't be easy, but it is a necessary effort. I realize that some of my Christian brothers and sisters believe that Israel can do no wrong and that their theologies require Israel to control the entire area of Palestine. My theology, however, doesn't require this. So, I will pray for peace, a lasting peace for all in the region.

25 comments:

Gary said...

I disagree with you. The attacks by Israel are entirely appropriate. Actually they are restrained. They would be justified in killing many more than they have.

Israel's attackers hide in civilian areas in order to protect themselves and to try accusing Israel of murder when Israel gets tired of being bombed and fights back. And the "civilians" are hardly innocent; they agree with and harbor Israel's attackers. If the bombers and missle launchers would stop hiding behind children, then fewer children would be killed in such attacks.

Rimaroka said...

I would hardly call killing over 200 people, most of whom were probably non-combatants, as "restrained". I worry for my aunt, who is living in Bethlehem right now. As I understand it, there was some unrest in Hebron, which is only 25km from her. I am afraid of all this escalating, as it surely will, and spilling over where she is.
Before anyone else says so, I realize that Hamas is also killing a disportionate number of non-combatants. They are equally, EQUALLY, guilty of stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Where was the Arab and world outrage over the missle attacks which eventually led to the air strikes? How long will the world community continue to behave in this manner?

Epiphany!!! said...

I am of the opinion that hamas was firing on israel because they are starving the palestinians of their freedoms and livelyhoods not to mention their children and these fathers cannot stand watching their children die and be picked off from their prison walls anymore. Unlike the jewish who walked quietly to their deaths. They have decided to stand! By the way Gary the israelis are very well known for their false flag terrorism. They're probably lobbing the rockets at themselves to justify this "restraint". Yes look into the irgun gang terrorists and their crimes (dressing up as arabs and blowing stuff up. Look up the U.S. Liberty and tell me that you justify americans dying....and don't tell me that its a lie. The captain of the ship that should have ended up on the bottom of the mediterranean testified to as much) then realize that Obama just named one of the terrorists sons, one "Rahm" Emmanuel dual israeli/u.s. citizen as his chief of bafoons. So I guess you're going to get a chance to see them WIPE OUT the palestinians and watch their blood flow you maniacal maniac. Therefore I am inclined to believe Amadinijad has a right to call for "israelis" to be wiped off the map!

NO APARTHAID AGAINST PALESTINIANS!!!

Anonymous said...

What would be an appropriate response if your children were being threatened daily, needed to run to the shelter each time the siren went off. Israel has always been the humanitarian compared to their neighboring arab nations. Please look at history and see what other arabs did for their fellow palestinians- nothing but give them more arms and continue their terrorism.

Anonymous said...

What would be an appropriate response if your children were being threatened daily, needed to run to the shelter each time the siren went off. Israel has always been the humanitarian compared to their neighboring arab nations. Please look at history and see what other arabs did for their fellow palestinians- nothing but give them more arms and continue their terrorism.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

It is important to understand the context of this. There are many parties involved, most of whom have some responsibility here.

This is a very complex situation, but we tend to only get very simple/simplistic answers and reports. The US has never been an honest broker in this. The Palestinian people have, in general, been caught in between opposing forces -- whether between the Brits and the Ottomans, Israel and the Arab powers, or SuperPower shenanigans.

There are two issues here -- the history and the facts on the ground. We can't undo history, but we can change the facts on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Israel has waited far to long and has been far to restrained. Israel should re-take Gaza and never give another inch! The pathetic idea that restraint and tolerance is the proper response to these backward savage animals is stupidity. They have been given many chances to reason and they are not willing or capable of compromise nor do they want peace. They have broke every peace deal ever brokered. Their leaders declared outcome is to obliterate Israel and erase them from the map. Israel should do whatever THEY decide is necessary to secure peace and if that means obliterate the infestation of savages, so be it!

cornwallnonsense said...

In '67, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan simultaneously attacked Israel. Israel defeated all three armies and Egypt signed an internationally recognized peace treaty with Israel which included granting to Israel control and dominion over the Gaza. The Palestinians living in the Gaza, Jordan, and Syria had always wanted their own homeland but were beaten down repeatedly in their host states. The Palestinian saw an opportunity in the Gaza for a new Palestinian state because the Arabs were not happy with losing territory to the Jews and viewed Israel's expansion from its orginal '47 boundary as "Zionism." The Arab host countries used the Palestinian warfare as a proxy to remove the Israeli from the Gaza while at the same time pacify the Palestinians within their borders. Funding to PLO, Hamas, and other splinter groups to wage the anti-Jew warfare came from surrounding wealthy Arab states. Finally after over 30 years of occupation of Gaza, as part of a peace agreement Israel returned the Gaza to Egypt which basically handled over the land to the Palestinian as an autonomous state. Having tasted a land victory over Israel, the various factions of PLO, Hamas, etc continued warfare partly because it justified their political existence and partly to secured a steady stream of money from anti-Israeli groups. Despite Palestian's unsupported claim that the Israeli stole their land, no country should support the Palestinian's guerrilla attacks on Israel. If the world believe the Palestinian's view that the Jew stole their land, then the Americans should return America to the new world natives; Canada should surrender its north western region to the eskimos and natives; the Han chinese should return half of China to the various tribes; and the same logic apply to the former Ottomen Empire, South America as well as Russia.

Anonymous said...

First, let's clear the air. There is no such thing as a Palestinean people or land. The land in question was nothing more than a desolate waste land inhabited by nomadic peoples before Israel became a nation in 1948. Only when Israel caused it to blossom with agriculture did anyone care about this area of the world. The so called refugees outside of Israel proper are arabs that left when told by the neighboring arab nations that they should leave, (and they did voluntarily) while they (they arab nations)destroyed Israel during the 6 day war. Fortunately, the arabs failed and unfortunately for the arabs they could not go back and now live in arab countries that refuse to assimilate them into their countries. Instead they choose to keep them in refugee camps generation after generation so the world can feel sorry for them. Israel has been over backwards decade after decade to have peace, but always having it thrown back in their face by "peace loving arabs". Enough is enough. Israel needs to impose peace as they see it any way they deem necessary.

John said...

I think that as long as Israel acts the role of the occupier, the native Palestinians are going to feel oppressed and they are going to fight back.

There is a relatively new term in international relations -
"asymmetric warfare" - which is the unavoidable consequence when a superior force meets a significantly inferior force. The inferior force has no alternative but to turn to "unconventional" tactics, such as suicide bombing, kidnapping, hiding strategic assets behind civilian fronts and terrorism.

As long as Israel acts the occupier, they will confront the unconventional tactics of their asymmetrically challenged foes. No amount of retaliation, short of genocide will end the resistance movement.

Israel needs to reach the conclusion, as a nation, that peace with the Palestinians is the only option, and then they will make the hard bargains that will allow peace to happen.

John

P.S. And Gary, agreement with the resentment and hatred of the bombers is hardly justification for murder. If so then you must also conclude that Palestinian genocide is acceptable.

Anonymous said...

John,

Once again we find ourselves in disagreement. Gaza belongs to Israel. Your charge that Israel is "occupying" land that isn't theirs is simply untrue. Because your basic premise is wrong, so are all of your conclusions.

Gary said...

That last post was mine.

John said...

Gary,

Not only does Gaza not belong to Israel, Israel does not claim ownership of the Gaza. Israel has continued to occupy it to various degrees since it took it from Egypt in 1967. Israel recently signed documents for the turnover of the area to Palestinian self-rule (Oslo Accords). From the beginning of the State of Israel in 1948 until 1967, Gaza was governed/administered by Egypt.

Gaza is wholly dependent on Israeli cooperation for its access to the outside world and the provisions it requires from the outside world, as Israel controls its airspace and maritime trade routes. Its economic and military control of Gaza in my mind, and in the mind of Gazans constitutes de facto occupation. The place is little more than a refugee camp.

It is my understanding that the only short or long term interests Israel has in Gaza are its continuing security concerns. And until they decide that peace is worth the price of making painful concessions, those security concerns are going to continue unabated.

Your statement "Because your basic premise is wrong, so are all of your conclusions." is probably best applied to your own statements and conclusions.

John

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

It is very difficult to work for peace when we are so bent on blaming one side or the other. Both sides have done some pretty horrible things, some even justified. There have been fights going on for 1000s of years & we aren't going to be able to solve the problem in a day or even a few years.

But we have to try.

The US is in the position to broker a deal. We can bring the sides together. We wont solve all the problems but we can help with a few problems here & there. Over time, =maybe= we can get some semblance of a working truce. But we must try.

Laying blame doesn't solve the problem but it does make the problem seem unsolvable.

Blessed are the peacemakers ...

Gary said...

John,

God gave Gaza, and a lot more, to Israel. I'm not sure that Israel has the right to give away what God gave them. If Israel did give Gaza away, given its closeness to Israel, and the hatred of those who live there, it is a threat to Israel, which Israel cannot ignore.

Neither will making concessions to the Gazans provide peace. You cannot make peace with those who think that only justice will be served when you are dead.

Israel must do whatever they have to in order to stop the attacks; if that means killing 200, or 200,000. The "palestinians" understand brute force, but little else.

John said...

Gary,

What God promised the Israel more than 3,000 years ago has long since been lost, some would say, taken away by the will of God. Not only has the promise been squandered, but the modern state of Israel is not the same Israel to whom God made the promise.

If you take your Christian heritage seriously, you must acknowledge that Christianity is the contemporary heir to the promise made to Israel. So then are we to move in and retake the Holy Land as our inheritance?

Also, I am not certain that Gaza was included in the promise, I will have to do some research to answer that.

But whatever the bounds of the original promise, it was squandered and modern Israel may not be it's rightful heir, especially if you are coming from a Christian perspective. If you are coming from a Jewish perspective, then you need to jettison the New Testament altogether as a source of religious understanding - which I don't think you are willing to do.

John

Gene said...

Is Israel the only country that God "gave" to anyone? Did he think, "Well they sure look like nice chaps; I'm going to give them the United Kingdom over there"?

Jolly good show.

Gary, I'm not sure can be reasoned with. As long as you can layer fantasy on top of fantasy, you're always the winner in your own mind. Cheerio!

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I am a pacifist and so view the actions of both Hamas and the Israeli govt. with horror. But, if one is NOT a pacifist, the mainstream U.S. media makes it difficult to determine whether or not Israel's response is justified or not.

In the U.S.--and ONLY in the U.S.--the mainstream media report things completely from the p.o.v. that Israel can do no wrong. One can find more questioning of the actions of the Israeli govt. on the pages of the average ISRAELI newspaper than in anything in the U.S.

Before any non-pacifist U.S. citizen DARES to comment, I would recommend REGULAR reading of the Israeli press. Most, like Ha'aretz (the largest paper in Israel) and The Jerusalem Post have English lannguage cites online--so there is no excuse. There you find articles and editorials that are hawkishly for Israel and articles and editorials that are dovish or even pro-Palestinian--to a degree that would be suicide for any mainstream paper to publish in the U.S. And you will find everything in between.

If you cannnot go to Palestine (and only travel to Israel on those tours designed to show American Christian tourists "Bible Lands") and meet the ordinary people who live under the occupation--Christian as well as Muslim and you cannnot meet with Israelis who do not support the party line (e.g., Peace Now, Rabbis for Human Rights, etc.), then do the next best thing and read the Israeli press.

Before the Gary's etc. have done that, they have no right to say what is or is not appropriate in response.

None of this excuses the actions of Hamas--I'm just tired of one-sided reporting.

John said...

I did not intend so much to point the finger of blame at Israel, only to show that there is a strong case to be made for the other side of the story. There is plenty of blame to share.

Also, from a purely rational point of view, I think that Israel, being the side with the prohibitively greater strength, is the side which has to move first and has to move farthest to bring this tragedy to a peaceful and just conclusion.

John

Gary said...

John,

I do not subscribe to "replacement theology"(the notion that the Church has replaced Israel). God made certain promises to the Jews that have not been revoked.

I would not say that Israel can do no wrong, but so far in this particular round of fighting, I have not seen them do anything I disagree with.

John said...

Gary,

Let me understand: you reject the following from Galatians:

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.
...
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God."

And from Ephesians:

"In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel."

And from ROmans:

"For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham...."

Interesting that you of all people would feel free to reject this fairly consistent and broadly based teaching from Paul. That is expressing a great deal of theological autonomy on your part.

John

Gary said...

John,

No, I don't reject those scriptures at all, but none of the scriptures you referenced proves, or even suggests, that the Church has been substituted for Israel.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

The promise was made to a man and his heirs. The promise was made to a people, not a nation state, and not to a government. The New Testament message is that followers of Jesus are adopted as heirs of the promise to Abraham. The New Testament does not claim that "the Church", whatever that is, is the heir to the promise to Abraham and his heirs, but that the heirs to the promise are individual followers of Jesus Christ.

The modern nation state of Israel is not an heir to the promise, but the children of Abraham are.

Modern Jews throughout the world, as well as Christians, and Muslims all claim to be children of Abraham.

John