An Evangelical Palestinian Christian Perspective on Gaza
by Jonathan Kuttab
Now that a ceasefire appears to be coming, it is possible to think of the real situation that led to the current round of fighting. In this regard, a number of remarks need to be made:
- Low level fighting has been constant throughout. Israel repeatedly invades Gaza space to destroy fields, targeted assassinations, shoot at suspects, preventing people from approaching its fence, preventing fishermen from fishing, sending drones, etc . . . One can argue as to who started a particular major escalation, including the current one, but it is a useless argument. We need a solution, not just to track who started the latest round of tit for tat.
- There is currently an ongoing crippling blockade of Gaza both as to imports and exports. Israel (and to some degree Egypt, also) controls all entry and exit of goods and people, which drives the entire nation to the tunnels for illegal transport. This siege must end immediately. Whatever argument can be made for a blockade to prevent weapons from coming in, NO logic or morality exists to blockade civilian supplies including food, fuel, commerce, and movement of people.
- Israel deliberately and openly persues a policy of cutting off Gaza from the West Bank (and the outside world) which not only violates the Oslo Accords, but deliberately fragments Palestinian society. We are one people, and we do not accept being so fragmented.
- Most of the Gazans are refugees from the creation of Israel. The injustice of 1948 and the right of return and the whole Palestinian/Israeli question is not even addressed. One would think the whole issue is a ceasefire, and that all we need is to return to the status quo.
Jonathan Kuttab is a human rights lawyer and Palestinian evangelical Christian. He is the co-founder and Chairman of the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence (now Holy Land Trust) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bethlehem Bible College. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@jkuttab).