My blog posting is quite late this week. I was intentionally avoiding this subject because it requires much more space than what we comfortably impose upon our readers, and to some it will be somewhat polarizing rather than unifying and uplifting. But it kept getting in the way of every other message and subject that I tried to scribe. Gaza is haunting me. And it’s not just me. My adult daughter has mentioned to me twice that she has not been able to look at the news because of Gaza.
When it comes to Israel and Palestine, there are so many differing and alienating positions about almost everything: the ancient history, the recent history, the land, the borders, the settlements, the Wall or the Partition or the Security Fence or Barrier, the checkpoints, the local and national and international politics, Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and more than a few other faiths within and outside of those Abrahamic systems – religious sites, construction, destruction, democracy, freedom, occupation, oppression, terrorism, blockades, boycotts, divestment, Zionism, human rights, and last but certainly not least (although the list could easily continue), the mayhem, chaos, death and maiming of war.
I’ve been in Israel and Palestine on six different occasions over the past 25 years. I’ve been to Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Tiberias, Eilat, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Gaza. What a wonderful, heartbreaking, inspiring, depressing, and breath taking land and people – all at once! So, there are no easy solutions. There is no “one size fits all.” There’s plenty of room for debate, disagreement, arguments, and blame. Defend your side, spin it left, spin it right, but… we just can’t justify, ignore, or disregard the disproportionate numbers of deaths, injuries, and lost of homes and facilities suffered by the inhabitants of Gaza during this most recent conflict. Over 1,900 deaths of (mostly) civilians; 10,000 injuries, and almost half of Gaza in rubble and devastation, compared to 64 Israeli soldier and three civilian deaths, few injuries, and very minor property damage. I’m sincerely pleased that the Israeli losses were few, but I’m sick and dismayed over the staggering Palestinian loses. I just can’t get that out of my way! It just isn’t right!
Howard Thurmond, the great intellectual and mystic mentor of Dr. King, wrote in his classic work “Jesus and the Disinherited,” (which Dr. King always traveled with) that “the three hounds of hell that track the trails of the disinherited are hate, fear, and hypocrisy.” Thurmond was building a case for the necessity of the oppressed and or the disinherited to hold on to the high ground of morality and decency regardless of the circumstances.
Perhaps both people see themselves as the oppressed and disinherited, and they both may be. May they, as well, find the strength and courage to reject fear, hate, and hypocrisy, and stand upon universal principles of justice, morality, decency, mercy, and forgiveness – and pursue a truth bigger than themselves and even their own histories.
submitted by Plemon T. El-Amin