Unless we deal with the conflict, this problem will continue for a long, long time. Continuing this siege contributes to raising young people who will use violence because they have little to lose. They’ve already lost almost everything.
For example, here’s how many people in Gaza view their experience:
We’re not able to live our lives, so what will we lose if we continue this fight? So let us continue this fight until we’re able to improve our lives.
At least, let’s open the borders so Gazans have freedom to walk in and out. The siege must be lifted.
Of the more than 1,900 Gazans killed in this war, according to the United Nations, 72 percent are civilians, and many are children. Some in the West say Hamas is using civilians as human shields. The UN is investigating this. Others say Israel knew civilians were in UN schools and still hit it. It’s terrible all the civilians being killed.
Some Christians inside Israel have influence. How should they speak out?
It’s hard for me to think like somebody who launches missiles from Gaza toward civilians in Israel. It’s hard to imagine. Of course, we as Christians are against this. But I would ask my brothers, the Jews, when you see how many people are killed, do you think it’s worth it? Couldn’t you find another way to solve this horrible conflict?
The power on each side is not equal. For us as Christians, for me, one person killed is too many, either Palestinian or Jew, because each of us is created in the image of God. We can see God in each other.
How we can respect and protect the dignity of humanity regardless of ethnicity is really important. I hope my Jewish brothers will able to look at it from this point of view. And again, for all of us to be honest with ourselves and try to dig even deeper to address the root of this conflict.
How far back in history we should go to try to solve this conflict? I mean, do you want to go to the time of Abraham where he had Isaac and Ishmael?
We have problems we need to solve.
To paraphrase Father Elias Chacour, we need to stand with the weak, with the victim, with the oppressed, without demonizing the oppressor and still love the oppressor. Of course, the weak here is the Palestinian. Palestinians and Jews alike hurt one another. Nobody is winning.
Are you calling for a deeper sense of empathy with both sides?
Christian believers here in the Middle East need the encouragement of their brothers and sisters in the West.
Let us try not to take sides, but to have bigger heart, to love both and pray for both and encourage both, to focus on the Kingdom of God on both sides. When there’s injustice or something wrong, don’t hesitate to speak with love.
If we unconditionally support Israel, if we don’t speak out when there’s injustice, it’s not very good for the Jewish people. That’s because in the long run, if Israel continues with this, in the long run it will destroy its people for generations to come and create more and more enemies who in the future will stand against them.
Christianity Today's publications have covered events inside Gaza in the past, including: