Lebanon, Gaza, Israel ... Which Way to Peace?
Seattle Chapter Fellowship of Reconciliation honors the peacemakers in the Middle East and locally who are working for nonviolent solutions to the conflict in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. We are heartened by those courageous people in the midst of the shelling and shooting who refuse to consider the people of the neighboring countries as enemies, and who continue to speak out for peace.
We are heartened locally by the expressions of solidarity by the Arab and Jewish communities, and others, who stand together calling for a cease-fire by all sides. Less than a week before the tragic July 28 shooting at the Seattle offices of the Jewish Federation, hundreds of people from many communities including Jewish, Muslim and Christian people came together at Green Lake in a rally to call for a cease-fire. Speakers expressed compassion for the people of all the countries involved.
In contrast, we see how a single hate filled person, the murderer of Pamela Waechter, can rip apart an innocent family with ripples of grief extending far beyond into circles of friends and colleagues. The single act caused fear throughout both Jewish and Muslim communities and beyond, as we wondered what other similar violence or retribution could occur. Local and national Arab and Muslim groups were quick to express shock and sorrow and to condemn the violence.
We think of the pain of the six shooting victims and their families, as well as the family of the shooter, and we know that the violence in the Middle East directly affects many more families. This violence, besides being tragic, is counterproductive. Hearts formerly open to dialogue are closing, anger is increasing.
We residents of the United States are complicit in the violence. Not only do our government leaders show a one-sided tolerance of the violence by Israel, we also give massive aid to Israel, and corporations in the US sell weapons to that nation.
We ask for our leaders to call for an immediate cease-fire by all sides in the Mid East conflict. We call upon both government and media to deal consistently with the violence, to condemn and to report, respectively, on all of the attacks. All human life is sacred, and deaths of civilians on both sides of Lebanon's borders are not to be taken lightly with casual apologies about "mistakes," "collateral damage," or "human shields."
We condemn all attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure such as bridges and electric power stations. These acts are illegal under international agreements as well as immoral. Although immediate cease-fire is desperately needed, the roots of the conflict also need to be addressed for a long-term solution. We support a solution which will lead to security for all the people of the region, so that nobody needs to worry about suicide bombers or about soldiers and warplanes.
We condemn the military occupations by Israel of Southern Lebanon, West Bank, and Gaza, just as we condemn the US military occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. We call for the immediate cessation of weapon sales to Israel or any other nation, and we call for an end to all financial aid to nations of the Middle East except for that which is clearly humanitarian. We support aid to rebuild bridges, roads, and homes destroyed in the war, and to provide food, medical care, clean water, and temporary shelter.
We urge individuals in the US to speak out and to support the peacemakers in the Middle East.
Seattle Chapter Fellowship of Reconciliation, info 206-789-5565
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