Tuesday, October 31, 2006
US Christians Watch as Arab Christians Suffer
Report; Posted on: 2006-10-31 10:49:59
“Why doesn't anyone face the truth?”
by Harmony Grant
Representing the estimated one-third of American voters who support Christian Zionism, Hal Lindsey blames the Palestinians for their own suffering.
“Why doesn't anyone face the truth?” he asks, “The main obstacle to improving conditions for the Palestinian people is the Palestinian people. Specifically, their overwhelming decision to elect Hamas to represent them as their government.” ("The Czechoslovakia Solution," Oct. 25, worldnetdaily)
When Condoleezza Rice refers to Palestinians’ “daily humiliations” under Israeli occupation, Lindsey sputters, “What occupation? The only territory under Israeli 'occupation' is Israel.”
Apparently Lindsey doesn’t read any of the hundreds of testimonies of Palestinian suffering. One is available, for instance, in the BBC’s recent story about the struggle Palestinian farmers face merely to harvest their olives.
“For years settlers have been attacking Palestinian farmers and chopping down their trees,” the BBC reports. “Palestinian farmers often require a permit from the army to visit their lands which lie close to Jewish settlements.
The Israeli army is supposed to protect the farmers from the Jewish settlers who routinely attack and harass them. A farmer named Jamal says Israeli soldiers are just part of the gang of thugs. “…Israeli soldiers riding in military jeeps often appear in the town's groves. The soldiers fire tear gas and live bullets and bark at the villagers through loudspeakers to leave the area, he says.” (BBC, “Olive Harvest Sparks Tensions,” Oct. 24)
Harassment of farmers is just one lash in the whip of Israeli oppression.
The 1.4 million Palestinians currently living in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer without electricity after Israel bombed their power plant three months ago. They are still “forced to live without electricity for long parts of the day and night…” (B’tselem Sept. 06 Status Report).
The bombing that westerners have already forgotten as one blip in the ongoing “tension” is a source of daily hardship for Palestinian men, women, and children. The Gazan urban population gets water only 2-3 hours per day, according to B’tselem. The lack of electricity has affected business and caused medical care to decline.
The bombing of the power plant was a collective punishment for the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Apparently Gazans weren’t suffering enough under their already crushing load of economic isolation, military checkpoints, systematic abuses, and intentionally disruptive road construction. Apparently it also wasn’t enough that virtually every family in the Occupied Territories has been broken by Israel’s refusal to process any of the 120,000 requests for family unification filed in the last 6 years (B’tselem, Aug. 15, 2006, “Israel's freeze policy on family unification in the Occupied Territories splits tens of thousands of Palestinian families”). Israel prevents Palestinians from living with spouses who are foreign residents and forbids family members who are foreign residents from visiting their loved ones in the Occupied Territories.
Imagine being separated from your spouse, denied almost all freedom of movement and much of your access to medical care as well as your access to basic electricity and water except for a few hours a day, and facing daily harassment from the civilian army that stole your ancestral land. Then imagine being told your failure to participate in the political process correctly makes your suffering your own fault!
Evangelicals think they are doing God a favor by supporting Israel, but many of the suffering Arabs and Palestinians pray tearfully to the very same Jesus. Persecution suffered by Arab Christians increases with every passing week that the US foreign policy privileges Israel and turns a blind eye to her cruel aggressions.
When we invaded Iraq for Israel’s sake, Arab Christians (along with all the dead American boys) paid a huge price. American Conservative reports: “The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees figured that roughly 36 percent of the 700,000 Iraqis who had fled to Syria as of March 2005 were Christians.” (The American Conservative, Oct. 23, “Christians in the Crossfire,” Doug Bandow)
Iraqi Christians feel like “human targets;” their lives have worsened since Saddam’s overthrow, and their religious freedoms have been lessened or taken away. Arab Christians are associated with the infidel West, says American Conservative, and suffer as surrogate targets for an American enemy who can’t be reached. For evidence, just check out the "Christians of Iraq" website and its long list of atrocities suffered by Christian Iraqis since spring 2003 (christiansofiraq.com).
Christians also made up almost 41 percent of the Lebanese population that suffered Israel’s harsh military action a few months ago (International Religious Freedom Report 2005, US State Department).
American evangelicals may someday say in horror to Christ, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” (Matt. 25:44). But with every passing day, Christians refuse to minister to suffering Arab Christians.