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In the aftermath of war in 1967 Jordan refused to commit to peace, and the Palestinians re-committed themselves to an armed struggle that they hoped would eliminate the Jewish State and replace it with a so called “secular, democratic Palestine.” Today, as then, there are no examples of a secular democracy in the Arab world – including the Palestinians in Gaza (under Hamas) and in the West Bank (under the Palestinian Authority) – all of which are undemocratic and call for Islamic law (Sharia) to govern in its territory.
In the March 29, 2011 issue of the UMC publication Faith in Action titled “It’s Time for Palestine” Rev. John Calhoun writes: “The winds of change are blowing. For millions across the Middle East, the future will be radically different from the past…Unfortunately, one state’s undemocratic, militaristic rule over millions of civilians suffering under its administration looks likely to continue unchanged. That state is Israel, and those living under its illegitimate control are the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
One mustn’t be surprised by the outrageous comments of Rev. Calhoun when using such phrases as “undemocratic and militaristic” with reference to Israel, as the UMC promotes the writings of Palestinian Rev. Mitri Raheb, a lead author of the unbalanced and anti-Israel Kairos Palestine Document of 2009, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, author of the highly inflammatory book Peace Not Apartheid as the basis for their study materials.
Rev. Calhoun has conveniently overlooked the fact that Gaza is governed by the Islamist terrorist regime of Hamas, which has attacked Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets, and which has vowed never to recognize the Jewish State. He ignores the fact that it is the obligation of the Israeli government to defend its civilian population under attack from Gaza’s Hamas terrorists. Moreover, most Arabs living in Eastern Jerusalem are the envy of the Arabs elsewhere in the Middle East because of the freedom, democracy, access to health services, and higher standard of living they have achieved under Israeli administration.
Mahmoud Abbas, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, has had ample opportunities to make a genuine peace with Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Barak made far reaching concessions to Arafat in July 2000 at the Camp David Summit. Arafat chose the path of war instead and launched an Intifada in September 2000. In 2008, Mahmoud Abbas rejected the most extensive concession made to date, by the former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert.
This mantra of “occupation” used by the Palestinians and their supporters in the Mainline Protestant churches is merely propaganda. In reality, Palestinians have governed themselves since 1994, following the Oslo Accords. As historical facts bear out, they could have achieved complete sovereignty in 2000 and 2008, had they cared more for their independence than the destruction of the Jewish State.
For the Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the PCUSA, however, historical facts and truth do not matter. The IPMN continues to push the anti-Israel Kairos Palestine document, and seek punitive measures against Israel, thus exposing their anti-Jewish bias.
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