December 5, 2016
Allow me to say in the outset of this blog, that I have been offered on more than one occasion to travel to Israel to tour the Holy Land where a lot of what I preach about happened. Even though I had been given these opportunities, I was never compelled or spirit lead to take the sponsors up on their offers. However, when broached with the possibility of being given an opportunity to visit Palestine and see the narrative and plight of the Palestinians, I jumped at the opportunity without hesitation.
As a result of my being here on today, I had the unique privilege to travel to the City of Jericho which is 846ft below sea level and is located near the Jordan River in the West Bank. Unlike other terrains I visited over the last 3 days, Jericho was full of the color green with many Palm Trees. Once in Jericho, our first stop was to Hisham’s Palace, where it is believed that it was built by Caliph Hisham bin Abd el-Malik, in 724 AD, as a winter resort. Shortly after being erected, the palace was destroyed by an earthquake.
I and the delegation of Pastors then traveled to the Mountain of Temptation by cable car to the cliff hanging monastery, the place where it is believed to be where Jesus was tempted by the devil during His 40 day fast. I was fascinated by the ability of Jesus to be able to climb this steep mountain after having fasted for 40 days. After reaching the monastery, it offered us a panoramic view of the City of Jericho. Upon completing our tour of the Mount of Temptation, we then made our way to the Jordan River, the place of Christ’s Baptism. We were met by a guide who informed us of the minefield that covers 136 acres that literally surrounds 7 church’s where Christ was baptized.
Though I had taken in many wonderful spiritual and historical sites, I could not help but be stuck in my visit to the camp village where the Palestinians have been denied basic rights and resources. The Palestinians have been denied dignity and respect for the land that is being confiscated right before their very eyes of which they have ownership to. I am stuck on how a people who call themselves God’s chosen people and yet, treat their fellow brothers and sisters with such disdain and lack of human rights. I’m stuck on how the Israelis can’t name the name of God and yet violate one of the Ten Commandments and steal land by creating policies and agreements that give unto the Palestinians no opportunities to have their rights protected and to maintain rightful ownership of their property. I’m stuck and blown away with how the Israelis have created a system using “occupation” and “settlement activity” to bulldoze the Palestinians and create a wall to keep them from moving freely with check points that have soldiers who are armed with assault weapons; a wall that is designed to cut them off from family, land, resources, and economics. I am stuck on how Israelis soldiers can literally kill the children of the Palestinians without any form of justice – mass incarceration of the young males.
I’m stuck on how the United States could have an Israel supported agenda that violates the human rights of another group of people and children. What is clear to me is that there is a system in place that is designed to oppress and obliterate the Palestinians of their dignity and ability to sustain themselves. By definition, this is called Apartheid. For those of you who questioned our analysis of this oppressive system, allow me to define Apartheid. Apartheid is a policy that is developed to segregate and discriminate economically and politically oppressed a group of people. The system/agreements has no accountability. We know that what is currently going on with the Palestinians is against International Law; it’s against US Policy and yet all we do is continue to fund and support without holding the Israeli government accountable. The United States has allowed lobbying groups to become powerful, creating an era where we turn away and refuse to acknowledge or see the wrong being perpetuated upon the Palestinians all at the expense of being politically correct while surviving politically. Why can’t we be both Pro-Palestinians and Pro-Israelis? Why can’t we as the United States put conditions on our alliances and hold countries accountable to not violate human rights? Why can’t we condemn all forms of racism, whether religious or ethnic, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia?
We in the United States have to stop the principle of double standards and insist on the international resolutions regarding the Palestinians and the Israelis. I employ us to see the need for the establishment of a sovereign new state allowing our Palestinian brothers and sisters to live with basic human rights, dignity and respect, water, freedom of movement, and economic access.
It is also obvious that our current strategy is not working. It has only caused more pain and confusion. Therefore, we must rise above our political agendas and dwell together in love, lest we all perish as fools all because of greed! We must see the face of God in each one of God’s creatures and overcome the barriers of fear or race in order to establish a constructive dialogue and not remain within the cycle of never ending pain that aims to keep the situation as it is. The voices of those of us who live in the United States should speak up to our lawmakers and demand a common vision for the Israelis and the Palestinians that’s built on equality and sharing; not on superiority or negation of the other, but that we are all created in God’s image. We must fight for our Brother and Sisters.