“…our security and our influence was won not just by our military might, not just by our wealth, not just by our ability to bend others to our will, but from our capacity to inspire others with our adherence to a set of universal values, like rule of law and human rights, and an insistence on the God-given dignity of every human being.”
extract from Barrack Obama’s eulogy to Sen. John McCain
Sometimes things happen that you know are going to happen, but rock you to the core anyway. One such instance happened today.
The Israeli Supreme Court today (Wednesday 5th September 2018) ruled that the Bedouin village at Khan al-Ahmar can be demolished in 7 days time. This will result in the loss of not just a community, homes, and places to graze animals, but also in a school catering for over 170 children. Where will the residents be moved to? The Israeli army have not said as yet, but there are two options; next to a garbage dump in an area with no place to keep animals or continue their way of life, the other next to a waste water treatment works where the air stinks and the ground is quite possibly contaminated.
I visited the village back in April with a group (read that blog here) so I’ve seen the place and met the wonderful people there. I know what the school means to the community and other communities around.
This ruling is part of a move by the Israeli government to create a split between the West Bank and Jerusalem as well as leaving the land free for the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements of Kfar Adumim and Male Adumim.
The above was expected, and may affect not only the families at Khan al-Ahmar but also families at other five villages nearby, so the totals could be this: 135 families, more than 170 school children, 1200 dunums (1.2km2) of land (the villages), and thousands of dunams of grazing land surrounding the villages.
What makes this case more shocking is the response on Twitter of Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Leiberman who wrote:
“Khan al-Ahmar will be evicted! I commend the high court justices for a brave and necessary decision in the face of the hypocritical attacks orchestrated by Abu Mazen [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas], the left and European countries. No one is above the law. No one will prevent us from exercising our sovereignty and responsibility to the state.”
Translated from Hebrew
This comes the week after another post from the Israeli Prime Minister spoke and tweeted from a presentation he gave at the opening of a nuclear facility in Israel:
“Shimon [Perez] aspired toward peace but he knew that true peace can be achieved only if our hands strongly grasp defensive weaponry. In the Middle East, and in many parts of the world, there is a simple truth: There is no place for the weak….The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.”
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu 29th August 2018
In comparison to the message from former President Barrack Obama in his eulogy to Sen. MCcain the Israeli Government appears to have given up all pretense of being a ‘government of peace’.
But what can we as individuals do? We can take action, we can contact the UK Government and the EU and urge them to follow up on their promises of consequences if Israel demolishes Khan al-Ahmar, we can show solidarity with the people of Khan al-Ahmar and surrounding villages, and we can pray for peace.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow charity;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; and
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.
Prayer of St Francis of Assisi