by Abigail Abysalh-Metzger
Pax Christi UN Team member

Ed. Note: This article is part of our continuing series of posts in support of the Pax Christi USA Statement of Principles for the 2020 Elections. To read more about the 2020 elections, visit our Elections 2020 – #VotePax webpage.

“If you want peace, work for justice.” ~Pope Paul VI

Since its inception in 1945, the mission of Pax Christi has been the same: to promote peace.

Nowhere has that goal been more elusive than in the Holy Land, a place of utmost importance to the three Abrahamic faiths and two peoples.

In 1948, as the State of Israel was established, the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) was unfolding. 450-plus Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed and over 700,000 Palestinians were forced, through intimidation and violence, to flee their homes. Today, generations of Israelis and Palestinians bear witness to the lasting results of these historical truths. 

For Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a brutal 53-year military occupation, the longest in history, dictates every aspect of their lives. For Palestinians living in Israel more than 65 Israeli laws relegate them to second-class citizens. And, in Gaza, 2 million-plus Palestinians live in an open air prison strangled by the devastating 13-year Israeli blockade of land, air and sea. 

This history of dispossession, oppression, fear and distrust between the people of this holy land has created a tinderbox. As the norms of the Geneva Convention, Rome Statute, international laws and UN Security Council resolutions are ignored by the State of Israel, Palestinians watch as their human rights continue to be denied, their land confiscated, natural resources expropriated and their aspirations for self-determination and a viable state evaporate. 

Reversing these dangerous trends and advocating for a just and sustainable peace in Israel-Palestine is one of Pax Christi International’s four advocacy priorities. Although this work takes different forms in each country, the commitment to advance the dignity and human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis is paramount.

Pax Christi USA has incorporated advocacy for a just peace in Israel-Palestine into our Statement of Principles for the 2020 election. We understand the critical role the U.S. currently plays in supporting the ongoing Israeli occupation, including through military aid. Instead, we advocate for policy decisions that will advance a sustainable peace that abides by international law, protects the dignity of every individual, defends the human rights of all, and is firmly rooted in justice.

Photo: Pope Francis prays at the apartheid wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories (credit: Vatican news)

3 thoughts on “In this election, your vote can advocate for a just-peace in Israel and Palestine

  1. Today nothing short of a miracle is needed to show the true behavior of Israel as the centerpiece for the destabilization of the Middle East. Gaza City is an open air prison, the Palestinian People have been reduced to a people groveling for existence through the expropriation of their land by Israel, the partitioning of their land by Israeli walls and the disturbance of free flowing passage by Israeli check points. And the US supports Israel with US dollars, trade and military aid.

    Just what is going on? We need to know the boundaries of Israeli territory but don’t expect Israel to answer because they don’t acknowledge any boundaries. They are forcing Palestinians out of their homeland and the American people don’t seem to care. Therefore no pressure is brought to bear on our leadership to change our relationship with Israel.

    This election probably won’t change our support of Israel unless we as the body politic raise our voices loud and clear and even then it will require a miracle.

    The Middle East lies in ruins, cities have been ground to dust and refugees flee to Europe through hostile territory and across the Mediterranean drowning at sea. And at the heart of this is Israel in an American embrace. One wonders at times if there is some common religious bond that binds this love affair.

  2. Individual citizens in the US need to demand, from the media, a more thorough coverage of the situation-particularly at times when the US is involved in deals between Israel and other countries(ex. Sudan). Discussion should explore what drives a deal and the ramifications of such deals. Too often, as usual, these deals provide a photo-op while peoples are left to try to survive with the consequences. This affects everyday life in countries such as Sudan and peoples of Palestinian heritage. Education through bold and thorough reporting and well-advertised informative programs need to be available. Too often, Palestinians are characterized overtly and subtly as second-class citizens. This reinforces the position that they are forced to live in(and supported by the US for materialistic and power-driven reasons). Of course, respect and compassion and equality and self-determination should be driving forces. May we all practice these in our daily lives and proliferate them by assisting our fellow human beings whenever and wherever possible.
    Terence Lover

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