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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Gaza and Palestine

All that is happening to Palestinians in Palestine and Gaza is heartbreaking and frustrating.  As of July 15th, CBC reported that almost 200 Palestinians have been killed and 1 Israeli.  How does the world stand idly by and enable the State of Israel to kill Palestinians by raining bombs down on Gaza?!  We are told by our governments that Israel has a right to defend itself. That's the stance that Harper is taking. But holding to this same logic, Palestine, being recognised by the UN as a sovereign nation--see Canada's policy with respect to Palestine and Gaza--should also be accorded the same right--to defend itself.

Gaza is essentially a prison.  Where do the Palestinians go when IDF bombs are launched?  They are warned to leave their homes.  But where do they go?

Netanyahu has said that because Hamas rejected the truce negotiated by Egypt, the State of Israel will respond more forcefully!  The State of Israel, as the vastly superior military force, has a moral obligation to initiate peace, end the occupation and invite a lasting peace with the Palestinian people.  Do I think this will happen while Netanyahu is in power?  No!  I wish I could say that peace will happen soon.

The State of Israel will not enter into meaningful peace negotiations until the US and other governments, including our own Prime Minister, hold it accountable.  After all, it's in the State of Israel's interest to meaningfully pursue peace.  Peace will not occur if violence is met with more violence.  And because there is no equality with respect to power, meaningful overtures must come from Israel.

In the meantime, I lament the violence and pray for a truce; I lament the deaths.  I continue to pray for an end to the occupation and justice for the Palestinian people.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Palestine & Israel: Tent of Nations and Presbytery Church (USA) Divestment

One of the last things I did before I left Palestine and Israel last November was to go to the Tent of Nations farm near Bethlehem. We met Daoud Nassar whose family has owned the farm for many generations. They are surrounded by Settlements and have faced harassment and intimidation for many years—because the State of Israel wants the land for further settlement.

On May 19, just a few short weeks ago, a field belonging to the Nassar family was bulldozed and 1500 fruit trees were levelled. It was a devastating act of brutality against the Nassar family. A recent newsletter from the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel included a BBC article about the Tent of Nations. I include that article here in this blog post because it gives a great history of the Tent of Nations and what is currently going on, and because it tells the wonderful story of the Nassar family and the quest to be agents of peace and non-violent resistance.

The link to the BBC article is found here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27883685.

On another note, the Presbyterian Church (USA), which met in a national convention this past weekend, voted to divest from 3 companies. We’re talking about $21 million dollars and the companies involved are Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar; these three companies supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory. The vote was 310 to 303, so it was a close vote.

The decision the Presbyterian Church (USA) made with respect to Palestine and Israel also reaffirmed Israel’s right to exist, endorsed a 2-state solution, encouraged interfaith dialogue and travel to Israel and Palestine to witness what is taking place, and instructed the church to consider positive investment in enterprises that create and advance peace.