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Home arrow Blog arrow December 2011 arrow December 13, 2011: A Christian Palestinian Gandhi Responds to the GOP

December 13, 2011: A Christian Palestinian Gandhi Responds to the GOP
December 13, 2011: A Christian Palestinian Gandhi Responds to the GOP

Newt Gingrich claims the Palestinians are not just an “invented people” but also “Terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools”.

Newt also stated “It's fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying about the Middle East.”

In solidarity with "enough lying" and because it's not my revolution unless I can laugh I’ll begin with Jon Stewart’s nailing of the pandering from the GOP:
 


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Naim Ateek is a Palestinian Christian who became a refugee in 1948 and he founded SABEEL after the first Palestinian intifada [translates to: rise up and cast off] that erupted on December 9, 1987.





 
 

The theology of SABEEL rose out of the oppression of Palestinians by the state of Israel and is rooted in righting the injustices inflicted upon the indigenous people of the Holy Land.

SABEEL seeks to unite the World Wide Body of Christ to the suffering of their sisters, brothers and cousins in the dysfunctional family of Father Abraham.

SABEEL is a global ecumenical Christian organization that collaborates with Muslims, Jews and any other faith and those without who work together for peace by seeking justice in the Holy Land: equal human rights for all and an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.

Rev. Ateek teaches that when the Bible is correctly read it points to a God of justice and God seeks the liberation of all people.


SABEEL addresses in particular the Christians who have been misled and misinformed by an heretical and anti-Christ theology, such as Christian Zionists like the GOP candidates who support the ongoing 44 years of military occupation, The Apartheid Wall and the illegal settlers but they have no eyes to see or ears to hear their Palestinian sisters and brothers in Christ, who are known as The Forgotten Faithful.



SABEEL’s theology is based on Jesus' example of non-violence and on what Jesus taught: that one must forgive to be forgiven, one must pray for and do good towards ones enemies-NOT to impose sanctions, bomb, torture or occupy them!

 

Jesus’ death on the cross is in vain unless his follower’s comprehend he was saying ENOUGH with the violence of man against man! It is to END with my broken body! 

Over a thousand years prior, in Genesis 9: 5-6, it was written:

"And from each man, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has man been made."

The 6th Commandment is
"You shall not murder."


SABEEL also reminds us that God is not a racist, does not play favorites, nor loves any ethnic group over any another.

SABEEL sees Jesus in his divinity and in the fullness of his humanity and I add that the term Christian was not even coined until three decades after Jesus walked the land where he promised the peacemakers are the children of God.


Jesus was a Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior and he was born, lived and died under a brutal  Military Occupation and his follower's were called Members of The Way.


Author and Feminist Theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether explains SABEEL developed “an anti-imperial theology. It stands in the tradition of the anti-imperial theologies of Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament, and applies this critique of ancient empire to modern empires, such as the American empire. It rejects a Son of David imperial Christology, rooting itself in a Suffering Servant Christology of the early Church, in its non-violent way of the cross.  It is a theology that aims at reconciliation and peace, through a social, economic and political transformation of relationships between Israel and Palestinians that makes it possible for these people to co-exist in genuine justice."


In November 2008, I attended SABEEL's 7th International Conference in the Holy Land: THE NAKBA:  MEMORY, REALITY AND BEYOND, 
Read more...

During that conference Reverend Ateek also guided me through his boyhood village which had became 100% Israeli in 1948 when the Zionists came and forced all the Palestinians to flee under threat of death.

Ateek's father was the town's only and very successful Jeweler. His response to the Israeli soldiers who ordered him to vacate his home immediately and board a bus that would make the family into refugees was, "Naked I came into this world and naked I will leave it."


In his book, “A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation” Rev. Ateek wrote:

 
"The Christian faith points to two superior levels that can lead to reconciliation and forgiveness and repentance is a precondition; it must precede reconciliation and forgiveness. Repentance calls for the admission of guilt, crime and injustice.

“In the conflict between Israel and Palestine, repentance would correspond to an admission of guilt by the government of Israel of the injustice it has dealt to the Palestinians in its confiscation of land, violation of human rights, and its systems of domination and oppression.

“There is the divine paradigm of revolutionary forgiveness even when no admission of guilt [is expressed]. Christians are suppose to practice forgiveness of others because it is how God deals with us: as God forgives continually, we must forgive others."
[Ateek, Page 183-184]




That kind of forgiveness is radical and revolutionary and exactly what Jesus demonstrated as he hung upon the Roman Empire's Cross of capitol punishment after he quoted from Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"


Jesus ended with a plea for reconciliation: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing." [Luke 23:34]

Way past time for Christian and Mormon politicians to act upon the simple truth that only the truth can set US free and only justice can bring a secure peace for all the people of the Holy Land. 

"Justice is done when international law is implemented. So long as the injustices persist, hate and its derivatives have the upper hand…justice and peace begins when the oppressor becomes aware of its violations of the other's humanity. Justice is done when the international community, through nonviolent methods, forces Israel to put an end to its injustice…justice tempered by mercy and compassion. The doing of justice must not crush the enemy but hold the enemy accountable…no hope for change is possible until the occupation ends." [Ateek, Page 185]


The essence of Christianity is to bear witness to what Jesus was always on about; forgiveness and love.

"Christians must condemn violence and terrorism whether it is recorded in legendary stories or in history being written today. We condemn suicide bombings as a crime against God. It is a crime to shed another's blood; it must also be equally criminal, if not more so, to shed ones own blood. Those who love God do not kill themselves for the sake of God. Nothing justifies the killing of people."[Ateek, Page 123-124]


"No hope for change is even possible until the occupation ends!

“The first step is to confront and analyze the roots of the conflict and its development…to move toward a solution in Israel-Palestine, the illegal Israeli occupation must come to an end and Palestinian violence must stop…Justice will be done when international law is implemented…Once justice is done, peace will not be far off."
[Ateek, page 185]

 

 

The last time I saw Reverend Ateek was on October 5, 2009 in D.C. at a SABEEL conference. I was already convinced there was no need for me to take my 8th reality trip through the West Bank to investigate and report because:

“Enough with the analysis! We are dying in Palestine and everything is clear! We need an American Intifada [Arabic for rise up and cast off]. We must continue our work here in D.C. and empower the UN; the conflict belongs there and USA policy must be changed. And yes we can do it because our God is a God of Justice, Hope and Love."

 

In 2011, I became a candidate for US House of Representatives, Florida District 5.


 

On November 3, 2006, Ateek addressed over 330 international ecumenical Christians who had gathered in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame Conference Center for SABEEL’s 6th International Conference: The Forgotten Faithful.

He sent chills through me when he stated, “Israel will not survive unless it does justice! The situation is deteriorating and we must frustrate Israel’s plans and actions because they are not built on justice. All we are asking for is that they honor International Law! Israel is afraid of International law and this proves something is very wrong with Israel. We want Israel to live in peace and with security. The only way is honoring International law. That is the bottom line and what we work and pray for.”



Reverend Ateek’s classic “Justice and Only Justice” laid the foundation of a theology that addresses the conflict over Palestine and explores the political as well as the religious, biblical and theological dimensions. From a position of faith, Reverend Ateek seeks solutions based on justice, peace, nonviolence and reconciliation.


On November 8, 2006 Reverend Ateek informed me:

“In Israel officially speaking of Palestinians is taboo: we are referred to as Arab Christians. When I say the Holy Land I include both Israel and Palestine. Ultimately only God knows about the future of Christianity in this place. We live in the scientific world and God has given us wisdom, knowledge, technology to be used for good and our future and destiny are in Gods hands.

“There are many red lights; external and internal dangers. What can we do at the grass roots level? The Palestinian Christian community must rise above petty denominational differences. The impending dangers force us to ask what can we do, what must we do?

“There is no future in isolation or passivity. Our futures are all linked together. There is an urgent need to articulate and work with other faiths, especially Islam. Our future depends on good relations with all our brothers and sisters. We need a Committee of Christian and Muslim leaders to dialogue and work together to confront militant extremist fundamentalism.

“Our relation with Israel is the most important issue for there can be no peace without justice. There can be no effective policy without ending the occupation in accordance with all UN Resolutions. The city of Jerusalem must be shared and there must be a just solution for refugees.

“Pressure on Israel must be done with nonviolent needs and the way is the way Christ taught: nonviolent and forgiving. The achievement of peace is not the end; but the beginning of reconciliation. The survival of Christianity in the Holy land is through true democracy. We must avoid the minority complex. We cannot depend on the good will of people in power. We want to be protected by a constitution with full citizenship and nationality must be combined. Only in Israel is there a distinction between nationality and citizenship. Only good democracy can guarantee all citizens are treated equally under the same law.”

“What can the West do? There is an urgent need for education about the roots of Christians in Palestine and to challenge the myths. Seek out Palestinian Christians in your midst and relate to them. Be aware of Palestinian concerns for justice and human rights. Work for a just solution of the conflict, which is equal human right for all. Support projects to increase the Christian witness: visit the Holy land and meet with Palestinian Christians. Forge closer links with churches in the West and in the Holy Land. Challenge Christian Zionism. Think Creatively!

“In the beginning the Jesus movement was very small. It began with 12 committed citizens. It began with love and Christ addressed his followers: FEAR NOT little flock! You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. To capture the essence of what Christians should be is to be salt and light. You don’t need a lot of salt to add flavor and even a small light can illuminate the way for many.

“To be salt and light is to be truthful, honest, have integrity and to be of service and do it with humility. Salt affects change: it is active, never passive. To be a light is a global challenge and when the light is seen clearly so is the glory of God. Sabeel means the way, and the way is to love all your neighbors and labor on with God.”


Israel has no constitution but does have a Declaration of their Establishment:

"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948.

 

And what a wonderful world it will be when Israel honors its original promises and words and American politicians told the truth and everyone listened to what the many Palestinian Gandhi's are talking about:

http://www.palestiniangandhiproject.org/





 

   
 
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