Once again, conflict is escalating between Israel and Gaza, and once again, Christians are blessing Israel and ignoring the suffering of Palestinians. My heart breaks when I look at Christians United for Israel’s Facebook page: while they pray for, bless and worry for Israeli victims of Palestinian terror attacks, which is great, there is no sympathy at all for Palestinian victims of Israeli bombings. There is great alarm about the rockets that Hamas fires at Israeli cities, which yet have not killed anyone in the current conflict, while the 70+ Palestinians that have died (including at least eight children) aren’t even mentioned!
Don’t get me wrong, what Hamas is doing is totally unacceptable and we need to pray and act for them to stop. But killing people is not the best way to stop them. It didn’t work in 2012, it won’t work know. When Hamas sees that Israel kills children, they won’t feel less keen to fire their rockets. Violence is a very bad way to end violence, Jesus taught us to love our enemies, do good to them and fight evil with love.
The best way to stop the conflict between Israel and Palestine is through social justice and economic equality. The relationship between Israel and Palestine is very unequal: Palestinians are poorer, live shorter, have worse health care, own less land and suffer more than Israelis. Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian crisis while Israel is enjoying Western standards. And much more Palestinians die in the conflict compared to Israelis.
If Israel blessed the Palestinian lands and helped them develop freely and democratically so that there was equality – with the same life expectancy, GDP, welfare in both Palestinian and Israeli lands – Hamas would have less to complain about. Terrorism is always awful but most of the time it is caused by social injustice and oppression. This is also true for al Qaida and other terror groups that attack the US – they rightfully feel that the Americans oppress the Middle East and promote global inequality.
Some will probably point out that Israel indeed wants peace, justice and equality but that Hamas makes it impossible. That’s not entirely true though, the UN as well as multiple NGOs tell us that Israel is not doing enough to promote justice – the occupation, wall, blockade and the settlements are increasing inequality. Many of these things are said to be necessary to stop terrorism and warfare, but that doesn’t explain why the wall is built around several settlements, or why Israel does not allow enough material enter Gaza to stop the humanitarian crisis.
Father, I pray for peace in the holy land and your blessing over both Israelis and Palestinians. I thank You that You love everyone equally and I pray that they all may experience Your amazing love, grace and salvation. I pray that You will bless all the Christians in Israel and Palestine with strength to spread the Gospel, promote peace and justice and heal the sick, raise the dead and prophesy Your good will towards all men. Amen.