The slaughter of Palestinian people continues this week especially in the refugee camps in Jenin where Sharon is not willing to listen to the president of the United States and get out of the Palestinian territories.
The slaughter of Palestinian people continues this week especially in the refugee camps in Jenin where Sharon is not willing to listen to the president of the United States and get out of the Palestinian territories. Sharon continues his campaign against terror by terrorizing over three million Palestinians with his brutal and inhuman tactics. Sharon is trying to clean out the Holy Land of all Christians and of all Muslims to make sure he not only guarantees a Jewish state inside Israel created in l948 but also in the Palestinian territories occupied in l967. The Oslo Peace Agreement that promised the Palestinians a homeland is absolutely dead.
Many people have a heard time understanding why Arafat gave up such a “generous offer.” That is all you hear in the international media, the Israelis are so generous and Arafat is the terrorist. Personally, the last six years I have been living here I just like to give you an idea what type of Palestinian state was giving to Arafat. I live in the village of Taybeh, it is marked area C, it will stay under the total control and occupation of the Israeli army because of the illegal settlements all around me although it is part of the territories occupied by Israel in l967. I need to go to school in Ramallah (ten minutes away), marked as area A, turned over to Palestinians when the Palestinian Authority was given this generous offer following the l993 Oslo Peace Agreement. In order for me to travel from a Palestinian village under Israeli control to a Palestinian city under Palestinian control I must go through four checkpoints that means facing soldiers with guns daily and armored jeeps and tanks. The point is that the Israelis gave the Palestinians a bunch of different cities instead of a Palestinian homeland with Israel controlling the major roads in and out of those cities. Not to mention they control the airport and the seaport for import and export purposes. This might sound absurd to you, but please believe me it is easier for me to go to Athens roundtrip than to go to school and work everyday. I am about to loose my mind so I went to Athens this weekend to prove my point. I couldn’t go to school anyway because currently it is a military zone.
The Israelis never intended to turn over East Jerusalem to the Palestinians either, which was occupied in l967. What does this mean. For me as a Christian, if I want to travel from my Palestinian village to the occupied old city of Jerusalem to pray on Sundays in the Holy Sepulchre, I am not allowed. And also, if Muslims wish to go and pray on Fridays at their religious Holy site, it is forbidden. The generous offer the Israelis gave Arafat was not practical at all because they wish to keep the 250,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank at their comfortable settlements that look like a suburb in Texas. While the settlers have the best of everything, the rest of us, for example, especially in the summer time, can go four days in a row, no running water while the settlements have water running twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The other generous offer that Arafat was so foolish not to accept is each and every single time we need to travel out of the country we must have a piece of paper called a permit to travel to the airport to visit our family and friends in other countries. To get a permit is a nightmare and extremely time consuming. The last trip to Boston, took my father-in-law exactly three days in a row, from 8 am to 3 pm to obtain his permission to travel from our village to the airport at 74 years of age. Of course you never know anyone at anytime can really turn into a terrorist because actually we can’t handle the prejudice, the racism and the injustice imposed by Israel on Palestinians.
The other “generous offer” Arafat refused to accept are all the Palestinian refugees that were forced out of their homes and their lands in l948 and l967 did not have a right to return. While please bear in mind that any Jewish person living anywhere in the world has a right to return to Israel even if they never had a home there at all. Does this sound fair to you? Is this just? Why can Jewish people return to Israel and the Palestinian people forced out of their home in l948 in Jaffa and still holding the key to their front doors do not have a right to return. Why are the Israelis above the law? Don’t both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to exist? Why do the Israelis get extra privileges? Are we not all part of the human race?
To you understand the difference between September 11th and resistance to occupation? September 11th was a pure act of violence, a total crime against humanity. The seventeen year old Palestinian girl that blew her self up in Jerusalem, killing innocent people (that we do not condone and we are strictly against such suicide bombs) is in fact giving a desperate message to the world. She does not have apache helicopters and tanks and guns to ask for her freedom and independence thus she gives the only precious gift God gave her, life itself to resist occupation and seek freedom and independence for her country. If people had a homeland and future they would not go and blow themselves up. But they are deprived of each and every single right that the rest of us take for granted. Occupation is the root cause of this terrible violence happening in Israel.
In this great and holy Orthodox lent, my point is not to help you understand suicide bombers, maybe you can’t unless you live with them and see their suffering and their daily struggle. I would like to leave you with the message that God calls each and every ones of us to serve Him and give glory to Him while we live here on earth. If God gave you power use it to help the unfortunate. If God gave you education, use it to help others understand. If God gave you money, help the poor. If God gave you great wealth and materialism, feed the hungry. God asks us to use our gifts and talents to bring Glory to Him who gives us eternal life. As ethnic cleansing takes place in the Holy Land, pray for God to show His mercy and pray that we may have strength to bear witness for Christ in the Land of His birth. I give up asking you to contact your government officials because we are experiencing a massacre of the worst type and no one seems to be able to stop it. I only ask for your prayers. God will listen and peace will come to the Holy Land.