Like many others I have been concerned and disturbed by the scenes and news from Gaza – at least 62 dead, including a number of women and children. I have also been concerned by the reactions. On the one hand there are those who regard this as yet another proof of the evil apartheid Israeli state, on the other there are those who see it all as the work of Hamas terrorists provoking a besieged Israel. And everyone it seems has to have their say and make their pronouncements. My problem is simply that I don’t know enough. So instead of commenting I thought I would ask some questions and see if anyone can provide some answers on one or all of the following:
- Does anyone know what actually happened? Did the IDF fire on unarmed civilians who were peacefully protesting?
- What does the opening of an American embassy in Jerusalem have to do with the Bible or indeed Christianity?
- Is Israel considered beyond any criticism by some evangelicals?
- Why were women and young children taken on a protest march into what is in effect a war zone?
- Why was live ammunition used?
- Why do so many politicians, church leaders and others express support for Hamas, whose aim is to wipe out Israel – they sing (as do protesters in the UK) ‘from the Jordan to the sea, Palestine shall be free’?). Do protesters believe that a Jewish state should be allowed at all?
- Why has the Scottish Parliament had 59 motions on Israel (despite the Scottish Parliament having no responsibility for foreign policy), of which 52 have been anti-Israel?
- Where were the statements from politicians and church leaders about the massacres in Indonesia this weekend (where children were used in suicide bombing on churches which killed 11 people)? Or the continuing killings in Nigeria and South Sudan?
- Does Iran have anything to do with this?
- Is it true that 50 of the 62 killed were Hamas members – described by Hamas as their martyrs and therefore not civilians?
I don’t think that people making statements according to their beliefs about Israel or the Jews is particularly helpful….but we should all pray for the peace of Israel and Palestine.