An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Unbelief is the True Root of Violence
Family standing next to their home demolished without compensation by the Israelis.
"We see Jesus falling the first time beneath the weight of the cross... the full weight of the Roman Empire! It is someone crushed and unrecognizable, beaten down by soldiers of the Occupying Roman Forces and the unseen power behind Jesus' nonviolent Cross" - Christian Peacemaker Teams
The weight of the cross was made heavier today when Israelis called for a "Shoah" against the Palestinians of Gaza, "Deputy Israeli Defence Minister Matan Vilnai said on Friday the Palestinians would bring on themselves what he called a 'bigger holocaust' by stepping up rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip." - "Israel minister warns Palestinians of 'holocaust'", Reuters, 3/1/2008. His actual words were as follows: "Speaking to Israeli army radio today, Vilnai said, "the more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, [the Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves." - electronic intifada, Feb. 29, 2008.
The fact that they called it a "bigger shoah" is significant in two ways: 1) Because it openly acknowledges that the Israelis have been committing a holocaust against the Palestinians up to this point and 2) They can't quite use the word "holocaust" by itself in this context because it would reveal the true depths to which they had sunk in their determination to destroy the Palestinian people. Using the word "Shoah", a word that designates the unique crime which the Nazis committed against the Jews during WWII invokes the sacred aura that the word has held for Jews for so long. Can we ever forget the endless cries of "Never again!"
As believers in nonviolence, we must condemn the firing of rockets into Israel. By doing so, the Palestinians who do this, though we understand their rage and frustration and for that reason, do not judge them, help perpetuate the violence of which they are the victims. Nevertheless, what the Israelis have said amounts to consciously placing themselves in the same category as the Nazis who systematically destroyed 6 million Jews, which they consider a crime of such magnitude as to make it unique in history. Such a use of the word "Shoah" indicates that they are at last recognizing the real nature of their policy aims, "The comments came a day after Israeli occupation forces killed 31 Palestinians, nine of them children, one a six-month-old baby, in a series of air raids across the Gaza Strip. Israel claimed that the attacks were in retaliation for a barrage of rockets fired by resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip which killed one Israeli in the town of Sderot on Wednesday, 27 February."
Soon there will likely be a ground invasion of Gaza in which the democratically elected government of Palestine will be deposed. When this happens, the corporate media will spend hours debating the meaning of words such as "holocaust", "massacre", and "democracy". When the debate is over, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Palestinians will be dead and Israel will have reasserted its prison warden role over Gaza. It appears that the only Palestinian negotiating stance acceptable to Israel is voluntary suicide. If Palestinians will simply agree to stop resisting Israel's attempt to murder them, then they can have "peace", as much "peace" as they want.
"Israel’s military killed at least 54 Palestinians yesterday - almost half of them civilians, including four children - in its most violent assault on the Gaza Strip since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power last June. The latest deaths bring to more than 80 the number of Palestinians killed since a rocket fired from inside Gaza killed a 44-year-old Israeli in the town of Sderot last week...The latest bloodshed comes as an Observer investigation revealed how Israel is again deliberately obstructing the transfer of urgent medical cases for treatment outside Gaza in the latest extension of its policy of collective punishment of Palestinians." - "Scores Die in Raids on Gaza", Observer, Mar. 1, 2008
These are not the acts of God, but of men, men with hearts of flint who are walking blasphemies of the God they pretend to adore. Let us pray and fast with enough power to lift the weight of the cross from our Lord's shoulder, and find the suffering humanity in ourselves that it may flood into the hearts of those in power in Israel.