Operation Pillar of Defence - A plea for peace from a church free from ideologies

Dott. Raffaele Battista, Librarian and Teacher at Facoltà Avventista di Teologia

November 22nd. As I write, I read the war bulletins. The following is from CNN:
As he was preparing to return to New York from Tel Aviv, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said late Wednesday his biggest concern was for the safety of civilians, "no matter where they are. Innocent people, including children, have been killed or injured on both sides. Families on both sides were forced to cower in fear as the violence raged around them."

Obviously it is not feasible to comment on military strategy or tactic issues. This is not because we want to hide. We are not dreamers or so gullible not to know that in political and military logic, there are responsibilities but a difference still exists between aggressor and victim. This is not like taking a look at a car accident in order to determine who must pay for damages. The problem is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is as an old blood feud, where visible blood is combined with invisible suffering and injustice and we cannot and will not take sides.

That’s why as a Christian community:
1. We support the people on both sides who do not want war or violence in their communities.
2. We call for a ceasefire and the start of a progressive, but relevant, disarmament process involving the two parties in conflict. Ideally, this process should be conducted under the authority (or supervision) of neutral countries without military or business interest in the area. (Do they even exist)
3. We call on all countries in the region to start peace negotiations where there are no treaties in force.

4. We address all the countries of the area to renounce war as a way of resolving conflicts.

More on concrete, ethical perspective:
We know that it is unlikely that the two sides involved in this war would take in consideration the previous points, but they are still correct. We look forward to a path of reconciliation and non-violence, where serious consideration will be given by a new generation of Palestinian and Israeli politicians. Now, let me address the authorities:
1. We want to emphasize that there is no reason in the world that can allow anyone to kill innocent civilians, old people, women and children.
2. Consequently every such act can only be declared as a war crime, and should be treated as such.
3. Stop using that infamous and hypocritical language widely contradicted by facts. There are no bombs, intelligent enough to recognize an armed opponent who might deserve to be killed.
4. We know all too well that there are certain military targets with many civilians close by.
5. A civil and democratic society/country shall be served by an Army, whose code of honour will never make special allowances or exceptions.
6. We realize that it is hard to see families killed due to a terrorist attack, but retaliation will never be justified.
7. Investing in long-lasting peace with little or no victims, also implies believing that you might have to make sacrificesand even lose something. You must begin with solidarity, reconciliation, forgiveness and give up the current, merely human strategy (which we all know, has not worked well till now).
And most significantly:
8. Jesus Christ showed to the whole universe, how to win the ultimate battle against evil – on the Cross.

If we really want to make a change, we need to lose something. Apparently, (but only apparently) it looks like we have lost a battle but we shall overcome the evil in its very essence. This is not just faith, this is our principle of behaviour.

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