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07.12.14

In Light of the Current Events in Gaza

Filed under: Palestine / Israel,Uncategorized — 12:03 pm
Gaza bomb

Gaza

Please allow me to spend a moment in someone else’s shoes.

If our mayor one day announced that half of my house now belonged to my neighbor, and forced my family to live in the other half while the new family spread out in what used to be my bathroom, bedroom, and study…I would be very angry. And if this new family invited their relatives to move in also, taking more and more rooms, forcing me into the basement, my anger would only increase. And if I took this injustice to the US Supreme Court, only to have them rule in favor of my neighbor and move my family into our garage while my neighbor’s family took over my entire house and changed the locks, I would despair. And unfortunately, if I’m completely honest, this despair might even turn to violence.

The violence would NOT be justified, of course. It never ever is. But I must admit that if I were pushed into a corner long enough, I just might throw a punch. Or fire a rocket.

But let me also step into my neighbor’s shoes.

After being viciously mistreated in our last neighborhood, if the mayor gave my family legal right to half of a house in a safe neighborhood, in a neighborhood where our family tree began and where we once lived long ago, I would gratefully accept. Even if it already had a family in it. And in my thankfulness for a safe home and fear of ever going back to the abuse of the old neighborhood, I would most certainly invite my loved ones to enjoy the security of this new home. Even if it already had a family in it. And if the other family got angry and violent and threatened my kids, you better believe I would fight back. Every dad has the duty to protect his family.

The violence would NOT be justified, of course. It never ever is. But I must admit that if my family was threatened long enough, I just might throw a punch. Or drop bombs from fighter jets.

——–

I’m learning that this conflict cannot be reduced to “good guys vs bad guys”.

One of my heroes (Christian peace activist Sami Awad) explained to us that this conflict is NOT simply Israeli vs Palestinian or Jew vs Muslim…but it’s ultimately a conflict between those who want peace and those who don’t.  There are wonderful, peaceful men and women on both sides (I’ve met many of them), and dangerous saboteurs on both sides (which we see on the news all the time).

And so, personally, I’m not trying to decide which nation is 100% right so I can 100% support them AGAINST the other nation.  It’s just not that simple.  But in the name of Jesus, I want to find and support the peace-makers on every side. These are really dark days, but we can’t give up.

14 Comments »

  1. great post aaron. thx for pointing the conversation in the right direction.

    Comment by scott hodge — July 12, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

  2. Wow, Aaron, thank you for this. You have put into very eloquent words my thoughts that have wrestled over this situation ever since I first visited this beautiful part of the world 7 years ago. We probably share the same heroes there – those who stand and walk out peace and reconciliation in the toughest of situations. I really like what Sami says – exactly! Thank you for sharing this.

    Comment by Remaliah — July 12, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

  3. Aaron~

    What a great reminder that no one is automatically on the side of all that’s good and right.

    There are peaceful people everywhere and people against peace everywhere, too.

    Comment by Neil Schori — July 12, 2014 @ 10:33 pm

  4. This sounds more like the Gospel I read and the Jesus I met.

    Comment by Hythem — July 13, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  5. Wow! Great perspective, Aaron! Thank you for sharing this!

    Comment by Kim Sturgeon — July 13, 2014 @ 10:36 am

  6. Shalom Aaron,

    Your analogy is an oversimplified, and inaacurate attempt at summarizing the complex history this region and its peoples over past 133 years. Most grievous is your equating the violence of one side with that of the other. Yes, dead is dead, and there is a moral difference between intentionally targeting civilians and those who die as a result of being cynically used by their leaders as human shields for their leaders’ weaponry.

    Actually the truth is rather simple: one side wants the other dead. There will be no progress toward peace until this is not the case.

    Blessings,
    Jordan

    Comment by Jordan — July 14, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  7. “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel’‎”
    ― Benjamin Netanyahu

    Comment by L K Radosevich — July 14, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

  8. With all due respect, Jordan, the truth is not that simple. Some on both sides want the other side dead and others on both sides want the other side to thrive in peace. At least that’s what more than 20 years of living in the Middle East (half of it in Israel) made clear to me. Sami Awad is spot on — the two most relevant, future-deciding “sides” are those Jews and Arabs who truly want peace (and their faith in peace and humanity transcends local ethnicities because they know everybody is equally ‘human’ before they’re anything else) and those Jews and Arabs who want the other side non-existent.

    Salam

    Comment by Tom — July 15, 2014 @ 11:45 am

  9. Dear L K, thanks for your comment. You are correct that Netanyahu believes this and acts accordingly. So do many Israelis and Americans. But in the opinion of many many peacemakers on both sides, this one-sided perspective is exactly the kind of perspective that perpetuates the conflict. We must find a way beyond the “it’s all their fault” rhetoric.

    Comment by aaronieq — July 15, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

  10. […] In Light of the Current Events in Gaza – Aaron Niequist […]

    Pingback by Eclectica: Late Edition (Week of July 7, 2014) – duncalfe.com — July 15, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

  11. Good to hear from you, Jordan. Hope you’re doing well! I find it confusing that you call my analogy “oversimplified” but then say that the truth is “rather simple”. Which do you mean?

    aaron

    Comment by aaronieq — July 16, 2014 @ 9:55 am

  12. Shalom Aaron,

    All’s well with me and my family and I hope that you and yours are in good health and good spirits. Thanks for engaging.

    As I wrote above my biggest difficulty with your analogy “is your equating the violence of one side with that of the other. Yes, dead is dead, and there is a moral difference between intentionally targeting civilians and those who die as a result of being cynically used by their leaders as human shields for their leaders’ weaponry.”

    If your analogy is questioning the very legitimacy of the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948, then we have a whole different discussion that needs to be fleshed out; one that requires an in depth knowledge of the 133 years of history to which I referred.

    Re my simplification, here’s a 6 minute video that supports the thesis that one side wants the other dead.

    http://vimeo.com/38831225

    Re peacemakers: Yes they’re important. And let’s remember that released Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails are treated like heroes upon their return home, with government sponsored parades and celebrations and with streets and parks named for them. In contradistinction, Israel’s criminals are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and are almost universally condemned by the vast majority of Israelis. So peacemakers are important. And until there is a massive cultural shift among most Palestinians there can be no peace. Sadly nothing less than a Palestinian civil war where peacemakers and other moderates find the strength to stand up and say no to Hamas and other extremists among them, is the only way that I can see any hope for change.

    Please check out the link below within which you’ll find a link to an important and very recent survey done by Palestinian researchers that confirms what I just wrote.

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/06/25/want-two-states-not-the-palestinians-poll/

    Be well Aaron,

    Blessings,
    Jordan

    Comment by Jordan — July 17, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

  13. Jordan, as always I respect your deep passion and perspective. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. You articulate one of the dominant Israeli narratives: “Israel has only ever done right, and 100% of the blame should be on Palestine.” Hamas uses the same kind of reasoning…just from the other side. But reality is never that simple.

    For nearly every point you’re sharing, I could share a counter-point. (For example, in terms of honoring terrorists, there is a shrine to Baruch Goldstein in Hebron that settlers visit and honor. I’ve driven by it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Goldstein. Most Israelis are certainly horrified by this…the same way 99% of the Palestinians I’ve met are horrified by Palestinian terrorism.)(Or in terms of making space for the other state, have you read Netanyahu’s recent words: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/18/benjamin-netanyahu-palest_n_5598997.html)

    But rather than getting into a back and forth debate, all I’m asking is that you consider the “Israel wants peace and Palestine wants Israel dead” is not the whole story. And more than being inaccurate, in my opinion, this one-sided rhetoric is one of the driving forces perpetuating the conflict. And I would say the exact same thing to anyone who believes that Israel is 100% to blame.

    There must be a better way!

    Grace and peace to you, friend.
    aaron

    Comment by aaronieq — July 18, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

  14. Not to over blog this. But I totally agree with what you’re saying Aaron. I have so many thoughts and opinions and books I’ve read on this topic but all I’ll say is this. There is always two stories to a fight and there is always two narratives to a war. It’s so incredibly easy to blame someone else. And say it’s all their fault. I think as a people we have to ask ourselves the bigger questions. Thanks for posting this miss you buddy

    Comment by Jordan gilliam — July 23, 2014 @ 11:33 am

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