Online Event: Insights Into the Palestine-Israel Conflict
[E-Chronicle, June 9, 2021] On Saturday, June 5, 2021, the Diocese hosted a special online Zoom gathering about the current Palestine-Israel conflict. Over 80 people tuned in to the 1-1/2 hour session. Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick had asked the Rev. Canon Naim Ateek and the Rev. Canon Brian Grieves to share their insights into the current situation in Palestine/Israel. Canon Ateek is a retired Palestinan Anglican Priest and the founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem, and Canon Grieves is a Priest of the Diocese of Hawaiʻi who has served as the peace and justice officer for the Episcopal Church.
Joining Canon Ateek and Canon Grieves were Cedar Duaybis, founding member of Sabeel, and Omar Haramy, the Director of Sabeel-Jerusalem. Duaybis was born in Haifa and fled to Nazareth in 1948, where she grew up as an “internal refugee” within Israel. She is a retired school teacher who supported her husband’s ministry as a priest of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Jerusalem inside Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Haramy is the Director of Sabeel-Jerusalem and an Orthodox Christian, with deep connections to the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulcher) in Jerusalem. He is also a member of the Kairos Palestine Steering Committee. READ MORE
Bishop Bob moderated the discussion that began with a prayer by the late William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury. After brief introductions by the Bishop and Canon Grieves, Cedar Duaybis was first to speak about the background of the conflict. Speaking from experience, knowledge, and a deep understanding about the time when the State of Israel was established, she talked about the price the Palestinians had to pay. At the time, she was 12 years old, and experienced the loss of losing everything and becoming refugees in their own land. Cedar spoke of her faith during this difficult time that was crumbling. From despair the Palestinian Liberation Theology was born, giving purpose and hope.
Omar Haramy shared several video clips. The first was a short video clip that became viral a couple weeks ago. It is about a Palestinian woman who encounters a group of Israeli and Jewish settlers. Apparently a widow of 15 children, she pleads for mercy about her home and the land that is being taken away from her. Despite the injustice, she walks away, saying "we want to live together in this land."
Canon Naim Ateek spoke about the current state of affairs and the situations that triggered the latest violence last month that included the attack on a mosque during Ramadan and evictions by gun point in an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem by Israeli settlers. Two more video clips were shared by Omar that recorded exchanges with a man from Brookyln, NY, who is trying to "steal" the land and home of a Palestinian woman.
Omar spoke about Sabeel and the work they are doing. Sabeel is committed to helping their their Christian communities to seek and learn from Jesus the way forward to God's kingdom, with a focus on reaching out to youth and women. Despite the pandemic, they are continuing their work through the internet utilizing social media and Zoom gatherings. They recently secured health insurance for their community, and are committed to building an inclusive society of peace and justice. On their website, their mission states: "To strive towards theological liberation through instilling the Christian faith in the daily lives of those who suffer under occupation, violence, injustice, and discrimination." To learn more, visit their website HERE.
Canon Grieves talked about the impact of Christian Zionism and the effects on Palestinians. He also talked about what our President and Congress are doing to support human rights issues and the political actions being taken to address the continuing conflict.