Wednesday, August 10, 2005
An Apology From a US Christian to Palestinians
For example Ed McAteer, founder of the Moral Majority, and a Christian Zionist who doesn't believe Israel should relinquish any of the illegally occupied territories, was asked by Bob Simon of CBS News: "What about the three million Palestinians who live on the West Bank and Gaza?"
Simon said that McAteer suggested that " . . . the bulk of them could be cleansed . . . and moved to some Arab country."
Not to be outdone, Kay Arthur, of Precept Ministries, an organization that leads tours to Israel, told Simon that Yitzak Rabin's signing of the Oslo Accords was a mistake " . . . and I believe that God stopped it by the things that happened," a not so indirect reference to Rabin's death by assassination.
In March 2002, Ariel Sharon invaded the occupied territories again. George Bush unequivocally told him to get out. Jerry Falwell launched a campaign in which his minions, estimated at 20-26 million, phoned, e-mailed, and wrote letters to Bush and Congress. Bush didn't say another word as Sharon unleashed another vicious attack on the indigenous people of the occupied territories and Falwell boasted, "The Bible Belt is Israel's safety net in the US."
One incitement to hatred that I found particularly appalling from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is the following from the Fourth International Christian Congress on Biblical Zionism.
"We also urge the Church to recognize that local Christian Arabs have been living under unbearable circumstances due to abusive Islamic coercion and intimidation."
My father was a Palestinian Orthodox Christian. When he lay dying four years ago, the person who visited him most frequently, and who came a long way from Northern California to do so was the son of a prominent Jerusalem Muslim cleric. Indeed, my father and Sa'eb were friends for most of their adult lives. For US Christian Zionists to make a proclamation about supposed animosity between Muslim and Christian Palestinians is the height of audacity and ignorance.
Indeed, the fate of the Christian Palestinian is no different than that of the Muslim if these millions strong fanatical hatemongers hold sway. In fact, Palestinians are chastised for seeking solace in Christ for their suffering. To the Christian Zionists it is no more than "exploitation of His suffering and sacrifice for temporal and devious political purposes."
Christian Zionist websites still peddle misinformation that has been debunked not only by Palestinian historians, but also Israeli historians. "There simply is no distinct Palestinian entity," proclaims retired Brigadier General James Hutchens of the JerUSAlem Connection. Particularly galling is his pernicious use of the word "so-called" when putting "Palestinian" before people. And then he proceeds to pontificate on what we are "in reality." People without a "distinct culture." People to whom he referred in "An Open Letter to President Bush," as "from God's viewpoint . . . the illegal occupants, not the Israelis."
Christian Zionist websites repeatedly bleat that Allah is not "our" God although as a Christian Palestinian I call upon God, "Ya Allah." As the daughter of a Christian Palestinian I am the descendent of the original stones, the first Christians, although the Christian Zionists consider my Palestinian brethren, both Muslim and Christian as "illegal" occupants of the land to which they're indigenous. It is particulary hateful for these Bible Belters to make the ignorant assumption that Palestinians lack a discernable "culture." Assuming that they did not have a distinct culture, does it give anyone a right to ethnically cleanse them? To the Christian Zionists, Palestinians are the children of a lesser God.
For their malice, for their perversion of Christianity, for their promulgation of lies regarding the Palestinian people and their history in Palestine, for their demonisation of the Palestinians, for their lack of regard for the dwindling numbers of their co-religionists in Palestine, for the lies that their leaders spew about God; i.e., "Those who promote a Palestinian state have placed themselves in alliance against God," for their incitement to hatred, for their advocating ethnic cleansing, for their role in promoting Israel's repressive measures in the occupied territories, for those who believe as does Gary Bauer, co-founder of Stand For Israel, that it is an "obscenity" to give up land for peace, and for their complete and total abdication of the Golden Rule, I apologize to the Palestinians on behalf of US Christians.
For those US Christians among us who are appalled at what our co-religionists are doing in our name, and who still consider "the least of their brethren," please look to those Palestinian Christians such as Reverend Naim Ateek, the founder of liberation theology, and an advocate of "spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, and love." That's what I thought Christianity was all about. Let us not allow it to be hijacked by the fanatics.