Fr. Peter Madros lectures on the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process

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Fr. Peter Madros lectures on the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process

Jerusalem- abouna.org

Fr. Peter Madros has delivered a lecture in Jerusalem on the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process. Following is the text of the lecture:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Salam, Shalom, Peace,

Thanks for the invitation to speak about the peace process among Palestinians and Israelis.
“Justice will bring about peace; right will produce calm and security. And my people will live in the oasis of peace” (Isaiah 32: 17-18).

So, the peace process, according to Isaiah, has to be a justice process, and security comes as a natural and spontaneous result.

As for Jesus Christ, he dedicates at least to justice and peace two beatitudes or congratulations: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (the Greek δικαιωσύνη dikaiosyne means originally ‘justice’ like the Hebrew ‘tsadaqah’ or ‘tsedeq’), for they will be satisfied”. (Matthew 5: 6)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5: 9)

Let me spare you the third beatitude that blesses “those who are persecuted for the sake of justice”, although, in a second thought, perhaps this is the biblical verse that suits both Israeli (Jews) and Palestinians because both claim to be persecuted, each one by the other and vice versa. By the way, the mutual accusations retard the peace process and sometimes it looks like capricious children: in fact, infantilism is reluctant on recognizing, acknowledging or confessing one’s fault. It’s always the fault of the other. And Jean-Paul Sartre adds: “L’enfer, c’est les autres”. “Hell is the others!”

Now, frankly, sincerely yours is not a politician, but “honesty is also my best and only policy. Allow that I begin with “bearing witness”: my parents, God rest them in peace, lost their first house in Katamon. Never got it back nor have they ever been indemnified. In 1967, they used to live near the Mendelbaum Gate, at some yards from here. Our house was completely “cleaned”, even our birth certificates.

About the peace process and negotiations, I know personally two Palestinian negotiators: one of them told me in plain Arabic that it is thanks to long and unfruitful negotiations with the Israelis, for a couple of decades, which he became diabetic. The second one attributed to that same “cross’ his aging faster than due!

“What I know best is my beginning” (“Ce que je sais très bien, c’est mon commencement » Racine, les Plaideurs)
Thank God, the Israeli and the Palestinian negotiators freed themselves of the theocratic view point, held by religious Jewish and Muslim extremists. Unlike the Ig’aal Ameers and the Tahrir party, the more or less secularized governments and negotiators gave up the absolute value (ils ont relativisé) respectively the notion of “the Promised Land” and that of “Falastin-islamic waqf”, which more or less means a God-given inalienable land! Mr Afif Safieh, a senior Palestinian diplomat and activist, also a Christian for once, prefers to see in our Country “the promising land”. We earnestly hope that this wonderful expression come true!

No way to have peace negotiations, and thus no peace, if Israelis and Palestinians stick to the theocratic idea. The Word of God remains holy but also daughter or son of its time and circumstances. God gave me this land, but this does not mean that he gave me the right to expropriate or to kill others for its sake. Since this has happened too often, in the “royal way” of an exclusive and “excluding’ promised land, then, as Saint Paul warns, in another respect, “beware of eating one another”, beware that this homeland become “a land which devours its inhabitants”
(Numbers 13: 32).

In the reality

No results, no fruits, hardly any, for the Palestinian people during decades of negotiations. To the best of our knowledge, since 1967, Israel has never complied with the UN and the Council of Security resolutions. The international community, included the Unites States of America, claim rightly that the Israeli settlements are illegal. The White House “regrets” and “deplores” this. The international community is the conscience of the world. Yet, settlements continue…Regardless: left, right “wing” Israeli governments: settlements advance and their numbers “fly”.
Knowing nothing else to say, I had to make recourse to the good heavens!

Help from heaven

Feeling humanly speaking helpless, wondering actually why your good selves chose sincerely yours, of all people, I prayed more fervently than usual. And the divine Providence “ran to my help”, as poor old King David used to wish with tears. In Alquds newspaper, today’s, yes today’s issue, there were a couple of lines : “Dr Saib Uraiqat states : “No unconditional negotiations with Israel”, responding to Netanyahu’s invitation and readiness for negotiations without conditions, underlining that stopping incitement will be the top element in the agenda (which is actually a condition). “ Uraiqat continues: ‘First, Netanyahu has to declare the cease of settlements, then free the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners, and acknowledge the preceding agreements. As for the incitement, we already responded”. Uraiqat implies most probably that violent reactions among Palestinian youths, especially Muslim, are only a result of provocation by ultra-orthodox Jews and settlers to enter to the Al Aqsa Mosque. President Abbas stated very clearly that he was against stabbing and inciting, or vice versa, as well as against provocation. Uraiqat went further not hesitating to talk about “a general war waged by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people through systematic house demolitions, land confiscations , ethnic cleansing and discrimination, and, most recently, keeping the corpses of martyrs, and intrusions or infiltrations into the Al Aqsa Mosque and many other things.

These things are no secret for anyone, far and nigh. It looks like the Israeli occupation authorities do not want Palestine on the map and consecrating the fact of military occupation (fait accompli). Peace and stability start from Palestine”.
Expressing an opinion which you are the only ones who asked for, I would say that I completely agree, and so does the Palestinian people in general, with Mr Uraiqat, except that he did exaggerate, to my mind, claiming that the Israeli occupation wished to erase Palestine from the map. I see that the Israeli occupation forces as well as the Israeli government(s) are doing all to make a Palestinian sovereign and independent State, with continuity of territory, simply impossible. As often noticed and warned, this will lead to a non desired “one State solution” with Israeli Jews having to “handle” nearly four million Palestinians, actually stateless Palestinians, and second class inhabitants. Or, the will is to have a strong Israeli Jewish State and an insignificant and weak infra-under-autonomy, with no controls whatsoever of borders, without the natural and legitimate right to self-determination.

To avoid any horrible misunderstanding, the PLO does not deny the right to existence of Israel in the 1948 borders, but request and demand, in spite of its weakness, that the UN and Council of Security resolutions be applied by Israel: withdrawal from the territories conquered in 1967 included East Jerusalem which can very well be capital of two States, living side by side, in peace and harmony.

“When there is a will, there is a way”. But, in politics,”morals, ethics and conscience” do not seem to count” (Jacques Maritain), only interests do and “might is right”. But this might, today held by the Israelis, has all interest, in order to keep its idyllic and ideal “Jewishness”, to give Palestinians a mini-infra independent and sovereign State.

Conclusion

Mr Nabil Amrou, another Palestinian official writes (today’s issue, Al Quds newspaper): “Not any political entity, however important, cannot ignore the international position especially when they are influential and instrumental in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”. As a Jerusalem boy, I conclude where I started, quoting another Jerusalemite, Prophet Isaiah: “No peace, no security without justice”. Having spent some time in Rome, eating lots of spaghetti and ravioli, sincerely yours, learned a rather nasty but realistic Italian proverb : “He who does not want to understand things the nice way – will have to do so by the bad ones”! But, as a pious priest, I have to end with a hieratic and Christian note, quoting the Eternal Nazarene: “Those who have ears for hearing, let them hear!”

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 00:33
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