Why I Care about Israel-Palestine
Over the past 65 years I have spent uncounted hours learning about the modern State of Israel. I have spent hundreds of hours in activities for peace and justice in the Holy Land. I have spent thousands of dollars supporting organizations working there and going there to see the situation myself. Why?
First of three reasons, and least important: as a citizen of the United States of America, I am complicit in the 1948 partitioning of the ancestral land of Palestinians to create the new state of Israel for a minority of the population, mostly recent immigrants, and making half of the Palestinians refugees in their own land.
As a US citizen I am also dismayed and disgusted that we fully support Israel politically, financially, and militarily as that nation occupies the Palestinian land and oppresses its people.
Second, and most importantly: I care about Israel and Palestine because I am a Christian. The Jesus that I know, love, and follow begins his ministry by quoting Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty the oppressed.”
When he describes the Christian life he talks about care for the widow, the orphan, the poor, the imprisoned, and the stranger. That is doing justice for all.
My Christian faith is not about land and promises made thousands of years ago to some nomadic people. I am concerned for Israel and the plight of the Palestinians because I believe them to be concerns of God, as seen in my understanding of Jesus.
The third reason for my concerns about Israel and Palestine is that I have met the people and heard their stories: Palestinians who have been refugees since childhood, whose sons are in “administrative detention” (i.e. imprisoned without charges), whose land has been taken to build the Wall, whose homes have been stripped bare by Israeli soldiers, and women whose husbands have been arrested and never heard from again. Also, I have listened to Israeli grandmothers who protest the occupation because “it is killing the souls of our grandchildren,” and to Israeli citizens who believe that the policies of their nation are wrong and immoral.
As Americans, as Christians, and as human beings let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Israel, and Palestine, and together seek the things that make for peace.
Contributed by Wilbur Wood, West Hills Friends