It's hard to say -- or think -- anything very hopeful about the situation of the Palestinians. An ancient people is being harried and harassed into oblivion by a bullying settler state, Israel, fully supported by our country, especially its political class. Not surprisingly, Palestinians resist erasure as best they can, often with ugly results.
So it was a great privilege to hear on Friday from a Palestinian who is trying to project a vision of resistance that affirms life while refusing to compromise with injustice whether by Israelis toward Palestinians, by any religion against another, or by men towards women. Jean Zaru represented the Jerusalem-based ecumenical liberation theology center, Sabeel, at a Berkeley conference sponsored by its North American friends. I'm not going to try to reproduce Zaru's talk; I would not do it justice. Rather I'll share just a bit from a handout of what she said on another occasion,
Read the whole thing.
The Israeli occupation has been, in language the religious scholar Rosemary Radford Reuther used at the same meeting, "lethal to the Palestinian Christian community. They get it from all sides." In 1967, the indigenous Christians of Jerusalem and the West Bank numbered some 13 percent of Palestinians. Today, Christians are less than one percent. Christian holy sites are no longer living churches -- they been "museumified."
Actually, I didn't have to go to some conference to learn about this -- many corner store owners in San Francisco would be happy to share a similar story. Just ask in the places with a picture of Jerusalem pasted on the back wall...