For us, living in the West, especially in the US, it’s hard to wrap our head around the ancient hatreds that run through the Middle East. After all, we are a country that in recent memory fought a bitter war with Germany and Japan and today we are allies and friends. Or even more recently, Vietnam. Our ability to turn a foe into a friend is part of the reason that US Presidents since, at least, Jimmy Carter have tried to broker a peace agreement in the Middle East.
From the Camp David Accords, that brokered a peace between Israel and Egypt, to the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to the more recent Abraham Accords, all were attempts by US Presidents to end hostilities and create an environment of peaceful coexistence. There have been varying degrees of success.
For the Israelis and Palestinians, each side has long historical grievances that at this point are almost impossible to unravel. These grievances are based on blood, ethnicity, land, and religion. We can find that hard to swallow, since we in the US created a multicultural, multi-religious society where bloodlines or ethnicity are not a required characteristic to be considered American.
In 2005, Israel, because of the Oslo Accords, all Israeli’s were forcefully evacuated from the Gaza Strip, leaving behind homes and businesses and the land was turned over to the Palestinians. The Palestinians held an election and elected Hamas and that was the last election they held. Hamas promptly destroyed most of what was left in Gaza, since they considered it “Jew infected”. Hamas’s only objective, was not to build a prosperous state for the Palestinians but rather to find ways to wipe out the Jews in Israel (and elsewhere). Western countries, especially the US gave billions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority and rather than using it to make Gaza a Hong Kong on the Mediterranean, used it to build tunnels and acquire weapons. As a result, Gaza quickly became a launching pad for rockets into Israel. Israel dealt with it by deploying its Iron Dome to intercept the rockets and bombs. It’s important to remember that Hamas is not the Palestinian people but has successfully manipulated them, indoctrinated their children with Jew hatred and exercised a reign of terror over the Palestinians. Maybe without Hamas the Palestinian people will have a better chance.
With the latest atrocities committed by Hamas, it should be clearly evident that they do not want peace, nor a two-state solution. Their stated goal remains the same: to wipe all Jews from the land. Hamas is a totalitarian religious fanatical organization. For them the death of the Jews is a moral imperative. How do you negotiate with that?
What has also been eye opening is the moral rot that has been exposed in our institutions of higher education. Especially those that are considered the ‘elite’ academic institutions. The Pro- Hamas rallies, the blaming Jews for the slaughter committed by Hamas and the justifying of the killing of innocents by Hamas, show how complete the radical leftist indoctrination of a generation of college students is. Couple that with the Pro-Hamas demonstrations in Europe and we see that Antisemitism is alive and well. The post WWII “Never again” is ringing hollow today. Antisemitism is a pathology that flourishes in much of the Arab world and the mass immigration from those areas into Europe has imported the pathology.
This recent massacre in Israel shows us that the hope for a peace settlement, whether a two-state or one-state solution is still a dream if that. In the meantime, innocent Palestinians are being told to flee south to find safety by the Israelis, and Egypt so far will not open its border since it wants nothing to do with Hamas (who partners with the Muslim Brotherhood which causes much trouble in Egypt.) Hamas has created a humanitarian disaster for its own people. There is also a small minority of Palestinian Christians. While Arafat was alive, he shielded them but Hamas bullies them and as a result they are extremely vulnerable. Pray for them.
But in the end, the only true and lasting peace can come from Jesus Christ. He is the one, who by going to the cross, absorbed the violence of the world and showed us how to turn our swords into plowshares. Moreover, He has broken down the walls that separated us from each other. As St. Paul told us: “Now there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, man or woman but all are one in Christ Jesus.” For the Christian, bloodlines no longer matter, and we have something better to unite us all and diminish the violence between us and form us into one family, brothers, and sisters under one Father.
Fr. John B.BACK TO LIST