When Rev. Dr. Gary Burge, the man who turned God’s promise to Abraham into a cosmic “kick me” sign permanently affixed to the back of the Jewish people in his error-laden book, Whose Land? Whose Promise? appeared on Hank Hanegraff’s show in May 2007, he invoked an essay by Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, founder of
If you go on the web and you just simply were to Google an article by a Christian leader named Ateek A-T-E-E-K and he has an article published on the web [about] suicide bombers. Just type in Ateek and suicide bombers and there you will have a Christian leader, a Palestinian who actually comments on that kind of Muslim violence.
Readers who do as Rev. Dr. Burge suggests will find hundreds of links confirming that indeed, Rev. Dr. Ateek has condemned suicide bombings – in an essay written in English and using Christian theology.
While Rev. Dr. Ateek’s essay is often invoked before Christian audiences in the
Readers will have, however, a more difficult time finding another document published by Sabeel – “Contemporary Way of the Cross – A Liturgical Journey along the Palestinian Via Dolorosa.”
This document, which draws straight-line comparisons between Israeli policies and the Stations of the Cross – a Christian liturgical meditation on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ – cannot be found on Sabeel’s website or anywhere else on the Internet, but can only be obtained from the organization’s
While Sabeel’s use of the Passion to demonize
This ‘Contemporary Way of the Cross’ has been developed as an act of worship rooted in the land where Jesus was born, lived, and died, linking the original events of Good Friday with the continuing suffering of the occupied people who live in th at land today. It seeks to help others to understand something of the events which have shaped this troubled place over the last century and draw attention to the very real and constant suffering of the Palestinian people. It strives to provide an honest account of the situation, and simply asks those who take part in this act of worship to listen, to pray for us and to pray with us as we look towards a just, comprehensive and enduring peace.
The un-named author(s) of the document then offer(s) several suggestions as to how it can be used in worship – “three or four stations a week throughout the whole of lent”; “two or three stations a day during Holy Week”; during Sunday school classes or “as a personal devotional tool.”
The structure of each “station” is the same: A pseudo-historical introduction that leaves out important information is followed by an “opening meditation” which compares an aspect of the current conflict to the suffering of Christ during his last day on earth. For example, Christ’s condemnation is equated with “The Nakba of 1948” and his death on the cross is compared to “devastation in
Distortions of the Historical Record
Following the failure of the UN partition plan suggested in 1947, Jewish military groups began to take large areas of
by force. During this period more than 400 villages were depopulated, the residents being expelled by force or fleeing from the advancing Jewish militants. The most appalling example of village destruction occurred at Deir Yassin in April 1948. Deir Yassin, a thriving community of 600, suffered a massacre of approximately 120 men, women, and children at the hands of the Irgun and the Stern Gang (Zionist terrorist forces). […] Issues of both right of return and compensation for refugees who fled and whose homes and property were destroyed or confiscated, both of which are provided for in UN Resolution 194, are yet to be resolved. Since Palestine has caused the displacement of the Palestinians, destroyed their villages and towns, denied them their basic human rights, and illegally dominated and oppressed them, it is morally bound to admit is injustice against the Palestinians and assume responsibility for it. Israel
The “opening meditation” then states: “Just as Jesus was condemned to die, so the actions of 1948 passed a death sentence on more than 400 historic Palestinian villages that were completely destroyed across the country.”
Sabeel’s liturgical narrative omits crucial facts. For example, the partition plan approved (not “suggested”) by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947 failed because the Arab-States surrounding Israel attacked the Jewish State the day after it declared independence. And while civilians were killed at Deir Yassin, Sabeel makes no mention of the 1,256 Israelis killed by Arab extremists between the approval of the partition plan and the outbreak of war on
Nevertheless, in the closing prayer of the Second Station of the Cross (which compares the plight of displaced Palestinians to Jesus carrying his cross on the way to his crucifixion) the authors petition God to “Strengthen the will of the international community to work for their repatriation and compensation, for the sake of the One [Christ] who was made a refugee, and now lives and reigns forever.” A more honest prayer would petition God to encourage Arab leaders to reverse their policy of prolonging the suffering of Palestinian refugees.
Moreover, no mention is made in the historical narrative, testimony or prayer of this entry of the nearly 1 million refugees driven from Arab lands and Jews driven from the
Predictably, the Sabeel offers a distorted and dishonest portrayal of the Six-Day War and its aftermath in the liturgy. Station Three compares Jesus first fall on the way to his crucifixion to the “1967 and Occupation.” Predictably, the historical narrative recounts
The occupation of 1967 continues today, contrary to international law, and the continued Israeli “land grab” and subjugation of Palestinian people by way of settlement building, closure, bureaucratic harassment, and military control further contravenes the way an occupier is legally obliged to treat a population under its control.
They defiled our holy places and violated our sanctuaries.They crucified our humanity and trampled our aspirations.They shut down our universities and surrounded our schoolsTo silence our young and to usurp our rights.
The message of this passage is obvious: Israelis have crucified the Palestinians, who have done no wrong. (About the only reference to Israeli humanity comes in Station Eight, which compares Women Against the Occupation to Jesus’ meeting the women of
Sabeel’s use of the Passion Play as a Procrustean Bed for its dishonest narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict becomes even more obvious in the liturgy’s treatment of Station Four, which compares the “siege and curfew” experienced by the Palestinian people to Jesus meeting his mother on the way to his crucifixion. The introductory narrative describes the security measures imposed on the
This is day 23 of the Israeli invasion and curfew on the twin cities of Ramallah and Al Bireh. 120,000 people have been confined to their homes for three weeks now. Although about half of the Ramallah cars have been completely smashed like cardboard boxes by the Israeli tanks, the ones that still run can cause impossible traffic jams with many roads blocked or damaged by the Israeli war machine. Crowds form outside every shop but many can only afford little. When people meet each other, they take a minute or two to exchange news. Thousands have been arrested, many killed or made homeless. News is of nothing but suffering, and people trying to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. …
Duaybis fails to mention that on the twenty-fourth day before her diary entry (March 27, 2002), a Hamas-perpetrated suicide attack at a Passover Seder in at Park Hotel Netanya that killed 30 Israelis and injured 140 others.
Our long confinement is accompanied by the constant sounds of the Israeli army exploding its way into houses, shops cultural centers, theaters, and the different national ministries as well as the municipality. They destroy everything in their way including valuable documents, archives, research work, medical and dental records. In short, they are destroying the Palestinian people – their identity, their culture and their memory.
Destroying the Palestinian people? While the destruction of paperwork and medical records is regrettable, describing these losses as the destruction of the Palestinian people, whose population has quadrupled in the
The greatest victory for Herod is to kill the will for life in us. This is the real victory of Herod over the infant Jesus. It is the eternal conflict between Herod – the authority and the infant – the dream. Rockets, tanks, and the bulldozers can limit our external movement, put us in the corner and demolish our houses. However, they are unable to kill the will for life in us. If they succeed, then this is their real victory.