by Rev. Dave Dunn
We are all heartbroken by the ongoing events in Israel and Gaza and we at UUMAN are in solidarity with both the Jewish and Islamic communities. Although the perpetrators committing acts of violence claim to do so in God's name, such acts have nothing to do with God, religion or spiritual life. We pray for peace and beloved communities amongst all people.
Since Oct 7, the beginning of this most recent stage of this conflict, thousands have lost their lives on both sides. Most of the casualties have been civilians; and I am afraid that these numbers are likely to escalate dramatically.
When considering the citizens involved in this conflict, and by citizens I am not talking about the criminal organizations and governments; the citizens can all point to historical oppression and marginalization in one form or another. The cycle of blame is seemingly never-ending, and it is often exacerbated by third parties trying to take political advantage of the situation at the expense of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Leaders of moral courage who have the authority to negotiate are needed on both sides. I’m not sure who such leaders are, however. The citizens in Gaza have not had the opportunity to elect their leaders since 2006 and hence, they are essentially democratically powerless. The people of Israel at least have to power to elect their leaders and the citizens, therefore, must assume some responsibility for the actions of those leaders. The citizens have a duty to hold those elected leaders accountable. (The same is true for us here in the US. As I write this, a leading figure in the movement to overturn the 2020 election was elected as the new Speaker of the House.)
Courageous leaders are hard to come by. After participating in the 1993 Oslo Accords and shaking Yasser Arafat’s hand, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing extremist.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought that if the Palestinians were able to have a leader like Gandhi rather than the leaders they’ve had over the years, there would likely be a Palestinian homeland.
That said, Gandhi was assassinated by a right-wing Hindu extremist.
Again, we pray for peace and beloved communities amongst all people.
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