Reflections on Gaza by Patriarch Michel Sabbah
06 May 2019
The following reflection is by Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Micheal Sabbah.
There is a war on Gaza, as it has been once, twice and more. Gaza and its people are in a state of permanent war. It has been under constant siege for 13 years, which is war imposed upon them every day. Today, the month of Ramadan has started for fasting, prayer, repentance and good deeds. Instead, we see death exploding in and around Gaza. Israel itself complains of the war. Yesterday, Sunday May 5th, the Israeli Defense Minister tweeted and cried out to the world to notice and see Israelis waking up for the second day in a row of rockets coming from Gaza and falling in Israel.
War is painful after two days in Israel. It is as painful and more painful in Gaza after 13 years of siege. War is an absolute evil both for the Israelis and for the Palestinians. Mr. Minister, the key to peace and the end of war is not in the hands of a world that we summon but simply in your hand and in the hands of Israel.
The issue is not only that of Gaza but the issue of all the Palestinian people. The issue is the injustice imposed on the Palestinian people since generations. Israel refuses to see Palestinians as human beings with same rights and equal to all human beings. Israel has tried the methods of war and violence repeatedly to solve the issue. Until today, it has not succeeded and now, on the near horizon, there is talk about a solution wrapped in darkness and non-recognition of Palestinian rights. It will not bring a just solution. It will be another failure..
The solution is simple if Israel wanted to SEE. If it wanted to see that the Palestinian people have the same rights as the Israeli people, all being equal in humanity. It is in Israel’s hands – Israel is the stronger – to realize this equality. Avoiding this equality until now was useless. Israel itself today suffers from war launched on Gaza.
The solution is simple. Israeli human beings should not remain exposed to war, as is the Palestinian human being. Both are human and equal in humanity. We call upon Israel, the friends of Israel, those interested in the survival of Israel and the security of Israel to simply see that the Palestinian and Israeli peoples are equal in rights and duties and capable of making peace.
We say to the Israeli authorities: It is in your hands to keep us and keep yourselves in constant war and hostility, and in your hands to let us move together to an equal life with dignity, peace and security. Learn from the experience of already 70 years in war. They did not yield security and peace. The cause of the Palestinian people cannot be solved by violence or unjustly imposed solutions, but only by justice and equality. This is the key to war and peace in Israel and Palestine. The key to open the door of peace is in the hands of Israel
Photograph: Ahmad Hasaballah