“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Donald Kruse, HCEF Executive Vice President Responds To The Religious Right BENNETT-DOBSON Op-Ed

As a former American consul in Jerusalem (1976-1980), I must respond to the rather polemical column by William Bennett and James Dobson in the Aug. 18 Dallas Morning News.

Dallas Morning News Op-Ed

August 31, 2002

As a former American consul in Jerusalem (1976-1980), I must respond to the rather polemical column by William Bennett and James Dobson in the Aug. 18 Dallas Morning News.

The column commented on a letter that was signed by 60 American evangelical Christian leaders, including myself, and sent to President Bush. It called for a balanced policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.

First, it should be clearly stated that we American evangelicals who signed the letter love and support the state of Israel in its pre-1967 borders. There should be absolutely no question about that.

We also believe that justice must be obtained for the dispossessed Palestinian people, who have been living either in exile or under a foreign military occupation for far too long.

Both sides have caused each other great destruction, suffering and death during the past 50 years. But it is best not to point fingers of blame at what has happened. Instead, we should be seeking the way to peace, security and justice for both peoples.

In light of the current tragic and bloody impasse between Israel and the Palestinians, the American evangelicals who signed the letter to Mr. Bush are crying out for an American policy that would be concerned about justice for the Palestinians as well as security for Israel because the two are intimately linked.

On the specific issue of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Dobson declared that “there is a great dispute over whether the Israeli settlements are illegal.”

Actually, it is perfectly clear to the United Nations, our European allies, the Arab world and, in fact, the entire world that the settlements are illegal and violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. Only Israel and its American supporters put forth the notion that the settlements aren’t illegal.

As I read the Bennett-Dobson column, I wondered if either of them ever had talked to a Palestinian Christian. The views expressed in the op-ed are so deeply hurtful and discouraging to these Christians, who for centuries have kept alive the light of the Gospel in the land of our Lord’s incarnation, death and resurrection.

These Christians want to live in freedom as Arabs in a Palestinian state with a shared Jerusalem. When so many American evangelicals seem to turn their backs on them, they question American evangelical theology.

These Palestinian Christians truly believe that if the Israeli occupation were to end, the Palestinian violence and suicide bombings would end. We American evangelicals should be listening to our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters as we seek to know God’s will in the affairs of the Middle East.

I fear that one-sided declamations such as those in the Bennett-Dobson column only serve to obscure and hamper the efforts for mutual understanding and eventual diplomatic negotiations and compromises. They won’t bring security to Israel nor freedom to the Palestinians.

Mr. Bush’s vision of two states living side by side will be best achieved by a balanced American foreign policy that recognizes the need for justice as well as security for both peoples.



2002-09-05T00:00:00+00:00 September 5th, 2002|Categories: News|