Sunday, August 30, 2015

End the siege of Gaza and begin the reconstruction of this devastated country

Doni & Randy Heyn-Lamb
of the Middle East Ministry of All Saints Church, Pasadena, sent me a letter about Gaza which I am sharing with you. I totally support lifting the siege of Gaza and rebuilding this devastated country. What Israel is doing to Gaza is a crime against humanity, aided and abetted by the United States. I applaud All Saints for taking up this cause.

I realize that Hamas has made terrible threats against Israel, but anti-Arab feeling in Israel is equally vicious and rampant and Israel has used its overwhelming military might repeatedly to crush Gaza and slowly destroy this country. Last year's brutal attack on Gaza has not made Israel any more secure; it has simply fueled hatred and violence on both sides. There is a better way, the way of love prescribed by Jesus. I don't mean sentimental, warm-and-fuzzy feelings, but "treating the other as you want to be treated," treating one's enemy with respect and using dialogue and diplomacy to work out an agreement that can lead to real peace, peace with justice. This is the kind of approach used by Jimmy Carter when he negotiated the Camp David Accords, a peace between Israel and Egypt (a much more serious threat than besieged Gaza) that has stood the test of time and made Israel much more secure.

Here's the letter I received from All Saints Church:

Dear Friends:

Our letter to President Obama begins like this:

    It has been more than a year since the Israeli military launched its deadly
     offensive against the people of Gaza. More than 2000 residents of what
     has been described as “the world’s largest open air prison” lost their lives,
     including nearly 500 children. A year later, not one of the more than 19,000
     homes reduced to ruin have been rebuilt, and more than 100,000 adults and
     children are still sleeping in the rubble of their homes." 

If this reality troubles you like it does us, we invite you to read the rest of the letter, which is available at the  All Saints Action website, or open the copy we have attached to this email. In it, we identify the siege of Gaza as the main problem delaying the rebuilding. We call on the President to pressure the Israeli government to end its stranglehold siege of the city and allow the material aid promised by the US and other donor nations to go in, so that homes, schools and lives can be rebuilt from the rubble.

If you can join us this Sunday, we would be honored to have you co-sign the letter with us. If you can't make it, print off a copy, sign and send it yourself. Or if you have to capability of doing so, scan us a copy at and we will add it to the letters we will be sending. You might also consider copying the text and pasting it into an email to the President. Feel free to forward the letter to friends who might also be willing to sign on, and consider posting it to your social media links.

We have also attached an article by Mohamed Omer, a freelance journalist from Gaza, who describes the current situation there, and a brief essay from a Gaza student about to return to his bomb-damaged school that was published by Human Rights Watch. 

Since this is our only letter this week, we are also attaching a copy of our updated Events Around Town, which has a number of events that we think you will find of interest. Check it out and we will see you there?!? 
Doni & Randy Heyn-Lamb
Middle East Ministry
All Saints Church, Pasadena


  1. Would anyone have let the Nazis remain in power and continue to kill innocent people while we rebuilt Germany?

    No way. HAMAS must be banned, or must change. Then everyone can help the suffering people of Gaza.

    Also the people of Gaza must change.
    "A majority of Palestinians say that suicide bombing is often or sometimes justified “in order to defend Islam from its enemies,” according to a new Pew Research survey.

    “Support for suicide bombing and other violence aimed at civilian targets is most widespread in the Palestinian territories, with 62% of Muslims saying that such attacks are often or sometimes justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies,” the report said."
    --By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times

    "A leading Palestinian Authority said in an interview broadcast earlier this month that he supported violence against Israel, including a nuclear attack.

    “I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning,” said Jibril Rajoub, the deputy secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and the chairman of the PA Olympic Committee..." He made the comments during a television interview with the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen television channel, which was then posted on his personal Facebook page.

    Two more leading PA officials also touted support for the killer of Evyatar Borovsky, an Israeli who was stabbed to death while waiting at a station for his bus...

    “We salute the heroic fighter, the self-sacrificing Salam Al-Zaghal,” said Abu Al-Einstein, a former minister to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas...

    And the other PA official, also on the suspected Palestinian killer: “Blessings to the breast that nursed Salam Al-Zaghal..."
    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

  2. I don't think it's helpful to compare Hamas to the Nazis, just like it's not helpful to compare Jews to Nazis. Both sides need to change, not just the Palestinians. I could easily quote hateful things said by Israelis about Palestinians, but I don't think that's helpful. The Palestinians on the West Bank have repudiated Hamas (for the most part) and tried to resolve their differences peacefully (for the most part), but their land and water rights have been slowly but systematically taken from them just the same. Nonviolent Palestinian activists have been arrested, tortured and deported. When those who advocate and practice nonviolence are treated this way, it is not surprising that other Palestinians have turned to violence. I believe that the way of nonviolence works better than nonviolence, but I can't blame people for trying to defend themselves when they are treated unjustly and being periodically slaughtered by high tech weapons. I pray that both sides come to see that violence is not the answer.

  3. First, I totally agree with you about the unjust , immoral actions of the Israeli government and the evil behavior of the "settlers.
    I've been documenting their terrible actions ever since I lived there in 1974. Recently, they again bulldozed a Palestinian family's orchard (Tent of Nations), as well as many others.
    Some time back they deported a Palestinian pacifist! who was born in Jerusalem. Etc.

    Where we totally disagree is that I certainly do BLAME HAMAS for intentionally murdering infants, children, and others.

    Please read the HAMAS Charter, speak with those innocent families who HAMAS murdered their loved ones.

    You wrote, "The Palestinians on the West Bank have repudiated Hamas (for the most part)..."

    Fatah in Palestine-(WB) praised a Palestinian terrorist on the West Bank who only a few weeks ago intentionally drove his car into a Jewish family's car to kill them, killing a little baby.

    HAMAS is worse than the average Nazi. The organization is more like the S.S.

    I've lived in Israel only a few blocks from Palestine.

    Please see my website for more detailed examples of how HAMAS and Fatah, etc. murder innocent people.

  4. Have you seen the new poll about Palestinians moving toward more terror attacks and more support of HAMAS?

    You wrote, "The Palestinians on the West Bank have repudiated Hamas (for the most part) and tried to resolve their differences peacefully..."

    The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a leading research group in the Palestinian territories, found that 51 percent of Palestinians oppose the two-state solution while 48 percent support it.

    The figures were down from 51 percent support and 48 percent opposition three months ago. The survey was carried out on 1,270 people in the occupied West Bank and in Gaza from Sept. 17-19.

    Perhaps more worrying from a sentiment point of view is that nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (65 percent) said they did not believe the two-state solution was any longer practical because of Israel's settlement expansion in the West Bank.

    As well as increased doubts about the prospects for a peaceful resolution with the Israelis, there is deep-seated mistrust of Abbas and the Palestinian leadership and growing support for a return to armed conflict with Israel.

    If new elections were held in the Palestinian territories, 35 percent say they would vote for Hamas and 35 percent for Fatah, down from 39 percent three months ago.

    Asked what the most effective way of establishing an independent Palestinian state next to Israel would be, 42 percent said armed action and 29 percent said negotiation. Three months ago only 36 percent said armed action.

    The day before Israeli elections in March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there would never be a Palestinian state on his watch, only to reverse himself days later and recommit to the longstanding objective of a two-state solution.

  5. Daniel, your citing of data is, as usual, onesided. It is not just the Palestinians but the Israelis who are losing faith in the possibility of a two state solution. It is also worth noting that 84% of Israelis supported the slaughter of Gazans last summer, the killing of over 500 innocent children--a war crime of tragic proportions. Sadly, the situation is worsening on both sides, due in large measure to the increase of violence and suppression on the part of Israelis. Netanyahu has blood on his hands and is a war criminal, in my view. He has also made it clear he doesn't support a two-state solution (despite his backtracking to placate his American supporters.) It is not surprising that support for Hamas is increasing among Palestinians; they have lost hope in the peace process. But I am convinced, and evidence shows, that the best likely path to peace and justice lies in nonviolent resistance, as Erica Chenoweth shows in her book on why nonviolence works. I'd like to see the Palestinians engage in a Gandhian campaign against Israeli oppression, We need to encourage the nonviolent Palestinian movement, not blame the Palestinians for their all too human reaction to inhumane and brutal treatment by the Israelis.

  6. Have you seen the news today from the BBC? :-(

    Does this look one-sided?

    Let me emphasize again. I completely agree with you about the injustices of the Israeli government!

    But those injustices don't justify Palestinians killing innocent civilians with knives and cars!
    "Three Israelis have been killed and more than 20 injured in shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and central Israel, Israeli police say.
    Two were killed when two assailants, who were identified as Arabs, shot and stabbed passengers on a bus in Jerusalem before being shot by police.
    Another Israeli died after being run down and stabbed elsewhere in the city.
    Near-daily stabbings by Palestinians have left dozens of Israelis dead and wounded over the past fortnight.
    Several attackers and at least 17 other Palestinians have been killed in the upsurge of violence.

    Can Israel and the Palestinians contain spiralling violence?
    Israeli security forces inspect the scene of a vehicle and knife attack in Jerusalem Jerusalem, a man rammed a car into a bus stop before stabbing pedestrians

    The militant Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, praised the "heroic operations in Jerusalem and greets the heroes who carried them out".