Thursday, February 19, 2009

Palestinians Need Radical Consultation

My friend Bill lead me to a nice piece on the conflict in Gaza. The article within the link raises some great questions, but fails to find solutions. Then again, I suppose there are no solutions.

Here's the conundrum that Adam Hamilton and so many of us can't seem to figure out:
The question I found myself asking as the military wing of Hamas began launching their crudely made and ineffective Qussam (Kassam) missiles into Israel two weeks ago was “Why?” After all, these missiles have no guidance systems and virtually never hit a real target. They stand no chance of winning a military battle against Israel. These missiles have killed as many Palestinians (as they occasionally fall back into Gaza) as they have Israelis. And the launching of them was almost guaranteed to bring an Israeli attack that would kill large numbers of Palestinians - making their launching of these missiles suicidal. So, I continued to ask, “Why?”

I can't answer the "why?" but I can make a suggestion. Palestinians need to find a leader in the mold of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela. These three men have spent significant time in prison, two of them were even shot and killed, but all three of them have been successful in defeating their oppressors, all in different eras and different corners of the world. Violence and terrorism will not win in Gaza and if it does win, it will only provide the Palestinians with an oppressive, militant form of government. Active nonviolence is the solution.

I know that Israel is our ally in the middle East and that the Jews are God's chosen people, but I cannot side with the way the Israeli government is treating the Palestinian people. I may be naive in saying this, but I don't think that most Americans support the actions of this government either. The problem is that Palestine's answer to oppression is militant Hamas; something most Americans side strongly against. What Palestinians needs is active, public, documented, civil disobedience. If you can convince an 18 year old kid to strap dynamite to his chest and blow himself to pieces, why can't you convince a man to stand in front an Israeli soldier who is unjustly demanding to get inside his house?

I think that Jesus gives a good example of how a Palestinian should act in a situation like this.

You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Matthew 5:38-40

The lesson from Jesus is not to back down in a situation like this, but to confront your enemy in a brave manner. If soldiers keep taking over your house, eating your food and sleeping in your bed, maybe a solution would be for you to bring in a catering service for the soldiers, or something crazy and outlandish of this nature. Instead of being walked over like a doormat, your actions would force the soldiers, or whoever is watching, to realize how oppressive they are being. It is so counter intuitive to love your enemy, but actions of love are much more powerful than actions of violence, especially if you are the one being oppressed. Jesus is not just giving us a mandate from God on how a good Christian should live, he is however providing us with very practical information that can impact the world.

Sure, civil disobedience will get you arrested, beaten, and even killed, but it will have a much greater effect than firing a Qussam missile. If there are laws and regulations that Palestinians find unjust, they must openly violate them in a peaceful way and force the Israeli's to act on it. Once we start seeing this type of behavior in Gaza, Americans will have to side with Palestinians and force a peaceful solution that will benefit them. Until that happens, all we will see is violence and Americans like myself will always side with Israel regardless of their militance and oppression.

In reality, I could be completely wrong, but that's at least how things work in Waluk's World.

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