Pleas from church leaders follow UN call to defuse tensions
Jul 25, 2006
The international community needs “to take bold and novel actions to uphold international law and break the vicious cycle of violence” in the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to World Council of Churches general secretary Samuel Kobia.
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert traveled to Washington in late May to tell President Bush about his plans for Israel’s future. There is no indication that those plans offer a viable solution to the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories caused by the cutoff of funds to the Hamas government. Olmert blames Hamas for the crisis. Former president Jimmy Carter disagrees.
With two world leaders beside him at the American Jewish Committee’s 100th anniversary gala in Washington, President Bush criticized Hamas for being in “the camp of terror” and vowed not to work with the Palestinian party until it recognizes Israel.
Sharonism, the Gaza pullout and the birth of Kadima, the new Israeli centrist party, are expressions of an evolution in internal Israeli thinking, just as the political victory of Hamas is an expression of an internal evolution of Palestinian thinking in response to corruption and lack of progress. Taken by themselves, these are healthy evolutions. The problem is that none of these developments evolved in conversation with the enemy next door. There is no peace without conversation, secret or public, nor will there be realistic internal debate that will yield peace or coexistence with enemies.
By 2010, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promises, Israel will have a border on the east. Who needs the agreement of the Palestinians and the approval of the world when we Israelis alone have been determining things since 1967? After all, the U.S. is on our side. Let us assume that the plan is possible. Is this going to be a regular border, that is, a clear line with walls and fences, beyond which there are no Israeli forces? Absolutely not. The very fact that there is no partner on the Palestinian side obliges the Israeli army and the Israeli General Security Service to be present on the other side of the line.
John Mearsheimer, an expert in international relations at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, academic dean of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, have issued what United Press International calls “a searing attack on the role and power of Washington’s pro-Israel lobby.” Their study, “The Israel Lobby and U.S.
Key U.S. Catholic bishops told 55 Catholic Democrats in the House that there is no wiggle room in church teaching on abortion, and that they are duty-bound to work against “the destruction of unborn human life.” The statement March 10 by three top leaders of the U.S.
German officials have suspended a lawyer’s passport to prevent him from traveling to Iran to attend a proposed conference questioning whether the Holocaust ever happened. Horst Mahler is a former attorney for the National Democratic Party of Germany, a fringe party that political analysts accuse of having neo-Nazi tendencies.
Hamas was formed in 1987 as an Islamist movement in opposition to Israel. It was linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. In spite of its resistance rhetoric, the organization received early covert backing and financial support from Israel.