Palestinian dignity and solidarity

Tabghe Church arson
Mazin Qumsiyeh writes:

Tabghe Church in the Galilee withstood 1,700 years of various rulers in Palestine. It is the church on the location we are told where Jesus multiplied the fish and the bread. For the first time in its long history it was burned nearly completely in an act of arson this week (picture above). The perpetrators wrote in red Hebrew graffiti that the “idol worshippers” will be killed!

A priest walks past Hebrew graffiti reading “idols will be killed” at the burned Tabghe Church in the Galilee.

A priest walks past Hebrew graffiti reading “idol worshippers will be killed” at the burned Tabghe Church in the Galilee. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty

It joins other churches and dozens of mosques destroyed since the founding of the “Jewish state” in Palestine. Israel is a repressive country that violates basic human rights, including freedom of religion. It inculcates in its public and private Jews-only schools notions of chosenness and racism (read Nurit Peled-Elhanan’s research into this subject). Below are just two examples of the products of Zionist indoctrination here and here.

If you want to know what most of us Christians think of Zionism (not of Jews because these are different issues), clic

Incidentally Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, spoke to hundreds in the occupied territories (in person in Al-Bireh with a live teleconference in Gaza) and articulated brilliantly why peace with the Zionist ideology and the “two-state solution” are both impossible. He articulated the need for a new strategy based on human rights, including return and self-determination in one democratic state.

Now we are in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Gaza families are fasting like others, even with the meagre food they have to break their fast, and they have to do this next to their demolished houses (tens of thousands are without their homes after the genocidal assault last summer). Millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees (of all religions) face similar conditions of deprivation and misery thanks to the conditions created by the Israeli lobby’s push for the war on Iraq in 2003 that cascaded into “Islamic State” and other horrors. Looking around us, we miss the rational voices of colleagues like Edward Said and Faisal al-Husseini. Here is one of my favourite prophetic writings of my friend Edward Said.

As for Faisal al-Husseini, he was born in Baghdad on 17 July 1940 during his father’s forced exile from Jerusalem. In 1944 his family moved to Mecca where they lived for one and a half years, and from there moved to Cairo where Faisal pursued his elementary and secondary education. His father, Abdel Qader al-Husseini, was a leader in the armed struggle in Palestine and fell a martyr defending his homeland in the battle of Al-Qastal in 1948. Faisal passed away during his visit to Kuwait on 31 May 2001 and was buried on 1 June 2001 in the courtyard of Al-Haram al-Sharif beside his father and grandfather. Tens of thousands attended his funeral (at least for that one day, the barriers around Jerusalem disappeared). Here is what he wrote after one of the many Zionist massacres that shows the level of his humanity and it is appropriate in this holy month:

Oh God, the chest is replete with bitterness… do not turn that into spite.
Oh God, the heart is replete with pain… do not turn that into vengeance.
Oh God, the spirit is replete with fear… do not turn that into hatred.
Oh God, my body is weak… do not turn my weakness into despair.
Oh God, I your servant am holding the embers… so help me maintain my steadfastness.
Oh God, faith is love… Oh God faith is forgiveness… Oh God, faith is conviction…
Oh God, do not put out the flame of faith from my chest.
Oh God, we wanted for the Intifada a white one, so please protect it.
Oh God, we wanted freedom for our people, we did not want slavery to others.
Oh God, we wanted a homeland for our people to gather them, we did not want to destroy the states of others, nor to demolish their homes.
Oh God, our people are stripped of all things, except their belief in their right.
Oh God, our people are weak except in their faith and in their victory.
Oh God, grant us conviction, mercy and tolerance in our ranks, and do not let us wage war against ourselves
Oh God, turn the blood that was shed into light that will guide us and strengthen our arms, do not let it turn into fuel for hatred and vengeance.
Oh God, help us over our enemy so that we can help him deal with himself.
Oh God, this is my prayer to invocation, so listen to it and grant us our supplication and guide us to the right path.

This past week we had good activities with many volunteers. If you want to see our activities, please follow us on Facebook – and do come to visit us anytime.

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