Jacinta Lisauskaite HIST 112 Paper 1: Blood Brothers 4 February, 2013 1. Elias Chacour was born in 1939. In 1948, Israeli authorities made Chacour and his entire village to become refugees.
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He was a priest of St. George Melkite Catholic Church in Ibillin for forty-one years building the bridges for the peace between people. He is following his call to be a peacemaker through the means of educating children, youth and young adults from all religions, so they can regain dignity as people and accept each other’s differences.
Since 2006, Chacour is an archbishop who oversees Melkites Catholic Church in Akko, Haifa, Nazareth, and all Galilee. He has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, 1989, and 1994. Other significant organizations have recognized Chacour’s work towards peace. He wrote two books – Blood Brothers (written in 1984 and updated in 2002) and We Belong to the Land (1990). 1 2. There were several sections in the book which helped me to better understand Palestinian-Israeli conflict. After telling the story how the village of Biram was exiled, Chacour describes what was happening in political arena at that time.
British government controlled the Palestine and the Zionist wanted their own unlimited control of it. Britain could not stop the Zionist because it was in bankrupt which was the consequence of WWII. Zionist took over the factories that produced ammunition for war. The compromise administered by U. N. robbed Palestinians of their lands, their homes, the peaceful lives they knew and their way of making the living. These were very unfair and unjust moves toppled by the “cleansing” performed by Zionist. I see all the rights for Palestinians to be angry with Zionist and fight against them.
Later, in the beginning of chapter eight, Chacour gives a two perspectives regarding what was happening after WWII in Palestine – one perspective as the world knew it and another perspective as it was really true. Palestine was represented as an uninhabited land for Jewish people to get rest and that surrounding Arab countries were angry, thus Israeli had to fight the War of Independence in 1948. In Switzerland, in the year of 1897, the writer Theodor Herzl fathered Zionism that sought to help disadvantages and oppressed Jews. The group of people decided for the flag, symbols, etc. f the new Jewish settlement but was split regarding location. Herzl was a strong proponent to set the location in Palestine. They knew that this country had borders, established governance and generations from ancient times that were living there. Chacour says that religious Jews thought of Zionism as blasphemy and they said that for elite and non-religious Jews “Zionism was the only Messiah Israel would ever have”. For earthly minds the way to salvation seems to be though military involvement – oppressed Jews in 1st century expected Messiah to be a military leader to free Jews from Rome’s oppression.
Chacour continues to explain how Zionism joined Restorationist who believed that by reestablishing nation of Israel they might bring the second coming of Christ. Zionist did not want to share any equality with the people who lived in the Palestine and wanted to make Palestine predominantly Jewish. Oppressed people sought to regain peace through the same means of oppression. Chacour explains how Zionist gained positive attitude from the Western world: West felt bad for hatred of Jews propagated by Hitler and were so focus on what was happening in Nazi government that did not pay attention to Middle East.
Also, he helped me to understand that the immigrants who came to Israeli did not know much and were told that Palestinians were enemies. The reason Palestinian were seen as terrorists was because of Zionist propaganda. It was shocking to see that Zionist by this propaganda, working on world’s sympathy for their pity, raised money and were very aggressive about their plan. President Roosevelt wanted to offer Jewish people a free way to go and live in any nation of the world but Zionist were aggressively against it – their plan for them seems to be “the only hope for survival”.
Survivors of holocaust were never given an opportunity to pick where they live; majority of them had to go to live in new nation of Israel. I was so surprised that Zionist even created persecution of Jews in other countries in order to threaten the Jews so that they would come to Israel. Haganah succeeded in threatening people by dropping bombs and forcing emigration. By all means possible, they wanted to bring their plan to pass which was to gather all the Jews in one place. The true was that some Jews probably did not want to leave the countries they were in because it was their home.
As I was reading, I found myself disguised about the perversion of these proud and ignorant men who thought they were doing the right thing. The depths of human sin can truly be seen in politics. Chacour calls the Zionist and their actions as murder, lying, “the disease of the spirit”, the demons of violence and of Militarism. Another aspect of this conflict was the growing new generation of people who attended poor schools, had little hope for the future and lived among the adult people who were losing dignity as citizens in the world. If the young generation would not be taken care of, the more conflict could arise in the future.
Chacour recognized this and targeted this population to build bridges to peace. 3. The idea of Zionism began in late 19th century and the main proponent was writer Theodor Herzl. Many things happened (like WWII, Zionist cooperation with Restorationists, UN decision, etc. ) that let Jewish survivor of Holocaust to come back to Israel, pick up the military arsenal and create their own country, with freedom, right to defend themselves, right to cherish their culture and have pride over it. Zionist made Palestinian to be their enemies by applying harsh and unjust rule and extreme oppression.
Zionism can be compared to racism, especially with the rule of Prime Minister Sharon who is really discriminating Palestinians. “Its policies include the confiscation of land; the demolition of houses; the uprooting of trees; curfews, roadblocks and 736 checkpoints that inflict horrendous hardships; the systematic abuse of Palestinian human rights; and the building of the illegal wall on the West Bank, a wall that is as much about land-grabbing as it is about security. ” The Israel was supposed to be a good and safe place for Jewish people to come back and find rest, but it became most unsafe place. 2
In Blood Brothers, Zionism played the major role. Chacour and his country’s life were completely transformed by the Jewish soldiers who came rushing in and with the violence and oppression made Palestinians to be their enemies. Chacour received his life calling to be a peacemaker or the ambassador of reconciliation between all the different people in the region, since the past years of Israeli rule and violent response from some Palestinian groups have brought a lot of despair, hatred, and misunderstandings. 4. I found many old articles from 2003 and 2004 that were reporting the debates and intentions about building the security fence.
The wise cement wall or an electric metal fence snakes through Israel’s territory for 450km separating Palestinian communities from other lands in Israel. At some points, the wall includes illegal Israeli settlement excluding rightful Palestinian territories. The wall is still being built (it is 10th year of doing it) and majority of it (85%) will be built inside the West Bank and annex additional 530 square kilometers. The people in Palestinian communities are very unhappy. They feel that Israel government wants to make their lives hard and make them suffer in order to leave the country.
In order to pass the wall Palestinians need to obtain permit and they feel they do not have any rights to their own country. Fence was built to reduce violence among Jews and Palestinians, but it will become permanent border for political reasons. The wall destroyed the business ties and it cut of the resources needed for the land and development. UN report said that “”Free movement and access, as well as the ability to plan and develop communities, are vital to sustain livelihoods, reduce dependence on humanitarian assistance, and economic recovery. The wall also changed the culture of Palestinian people. They are not able to connect with their relatives on the other side of wall and the social life has declines because of isolated communities. Al Ram is the city close around the inside of wall close to Jerusalem where many people moved in – there are things like drug dealing and prostitution. 3 5. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established in 1964. Their aim is to remove Israel government and restore Palestinian government. After violent and military fights with Israel, it recognized Israel and renounced terrorism because of UN.
UN recognizes PLO as legitimate representative of Palestinian people and it holds observer status in UN. 4 Palestinian authority is a administrative organization that governs some territories in Israel (like West Bank) and representative of Palestine people in UN. 2012 it was given an observer status to which Israeli and Unites States protested. Their president is Mahmoud Abbas. 5 HAMAS – it was established as an alternative to the PLO. They seek to build Islamic Sunni Palestinian state operating under sharia law on the land of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
They are oriented towards using extreme violent means to achieve their goals. Some of their specific goals are to bring back Palestinains to their homes, to free the war prisoners and to destroy Israeli authority. 6 Hezobollah is a Shiite military, political and social organization which is strong in its political and military power. It is located in Lebanon and have strong ties to Iran and Syria. United States associate Hamas with Iran nuclear program and says that it is sponsored by Iran; also, it associates this organization with the support of Syria’s president and helping to diminish opposition. 7
Gaza is the city in Israel. The Green Line attributed Gaza to the Palestinians since they needed an access to the sea. Gaza experienced much turmoil as powers were fighting for the government of it and right now is under the rule of HAMAS control. 8 West Bank is the territory which by Green Line was to belong to Palestinians. Right now the security fence has come to divide West Bank, separating Palestinian communities. It is the large part of the land in North Eastern Israeli-Palestinian territory, in the boundaries of ancient Galilee. 8 Israeli Settlements in the West Bank were established illegally.
The Jewish Zionist came back and established settlements on the hilltops since it is presumably their birthrights. Palestinians feel that Green Line should be observed and feel like Israeli did not recognize Palestinian territories in worst place. 8 Green Line was drawn in 1949 after Arab-Israeli war. It was named because the pen color on the map was green. 1967 Israel occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza that were supposed to be Palestinian territory. 9 6. There are no clear indications that the connection between Israeli-Palestinian conflict and 9/11 attacks exist. Some news portals tried o speculate about Palestinians support of bin Laden and their disapproval of his murder. 10 However, this new portal also acknowledged that some Palestinians were on Americans side. Al Jazeera 11 provides the recording of bin Laden messages in which he supports Palestinian cause. Bin Laden told that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of Muslim battle with the West and that if U. S. Does not change their policy, more attacks will result; he even called Palestine as “our land”. From what I learned in class, Al-Qaeda was not really related with what was happening in Israel.
It is clear that these “messages” from bin Laden are corrupted and biased. It is apparent that this is Israeli propaganda to make world think of Palestinians as the biggest enemies. There is no seeming strong connection attached to Israeli-Palestinian and the U. S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some articles alluded about the terrorist in Palestine. I learned in class that war in Afghanistan was associated with Taliban political movement and the war in Iraq was associated with Al-Queue terrorist network. 7. The clear reason why material like this is not widely known in the USA is media distortions and the lack of education.
I saw numerous times the news regarding Middle East. There were so many names and so much different stuff happening that if I wanted to understand what is going on, I should have spent days upon days spending hours trying to learn the history of the past and the connection in the present. I think media should be more educational and use simpler, more direct words to describe what is what. Most of Americans live self-centered, very busy lives, working a lot, trying to be comfortable, distract themselves from troubles of their lives through entertainment and have fun time, and do numerous other things that the society expects them to do.
There is no time or brain capacity left for the most people to be concern about the Middle East. Brains are very limited to how much information it can take in and it also needs good education so it can sort out the incoming information and understand it accurately. In my country, Lithuania, people talk about politics and what is going on in the different countries of the world around dinner tables, at work and in streets. It is because they are small country and need to be aware of all what’s happening in the world. They also have more of a community spirit and live more laid-back lives.
America is a very big country and its inhabitants tend to think that it is the most powerful and very self-sufficient country that results in people not caring. How can people care about what’s going on the next part of the world if they do not care about their neighbor? And many people don’t because the weight of the life and selfishness blinds people to the problems of others. If people live in competition, striving hard to survive in this world, they need to push others aside and have enemies to shift the blame for the problems and to feel better about themselves.
This society is also very alienated from each other. Another reason why people might not care is because they see Muslims and all the region of Middle East as if they all hate Americans, are terrorists and uncivilized people with degraded culture. Rarely we see on the news the good things about the Middle East – how their children play and go to school, how people perform arts, how intellectual life and deep seated culture flourish. It is not widely known in the Christian community because Christians in USA grew up to be citizens of this country.
The ways of living life for many people do not get changed after they become Christian, as statistics show. People struggle to live out the citizenship they have in heaven. Also, they are subject to media distortions and to the strong pressure from the society to adapt to its views. When bin Laden was killed, so many people rejoiced, even seemingly serious Christians. God the only one who can bring life and death and there was no reason for Christian to rejoice. There is another reason that answers this question and I was convicted about it for the last week. It is not just my sin, but the sin of many other Christians I know.
I realized that I am very self-centered and I expect God to act in my life as long as it is about me and those around me. I do not make Him a big God – even reading the articles for the paper I was so annoyed by having to do it. I and other Christians I know need to realize that life is not about us, but it’s all about Christ and He loves everyone in the world and wants us to understand the situations and be the ambassadors of reconciliation in all the possible areas. Summarizing, I think that he main problems are not accurate information, media distortion, lack of education and minds that are ot renewed by God’s wisdom. 8. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very neat to read about the people and the land that Jesus lived in. Also, it was interesting to understand the lives and the faith of Christian Palestinians. It was very encouraging to see how Chacour story develops and how faithful God was in his life, and how eagerly Chacour devoted all his life to God’s purposes. Chacour and his life encouraged me to become more aware of what’s going on in the world and realize the responsibly God has placed for me and other Christians.
This book several times caused me to be overjoyed to the point of tears. Also, my understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict changed as a result of reading this book. I grew up thinking that Palestinians were terrorists. News in Lithuania and in United States, and even my school textbook, taught me to immediately associate Palestinians with extremism and terrorism. This book made me to rethink of how crucial non-violent resistance is and that it is very important to educate the younger generation regarding a better, more peaceful, loving and accurate way to see their neighbors.
I also realized that this conflict is very difficult and how United States can be so influential in the region. Bibliography 1 “Abuna Elias Chacour. ” Pilgrims of Ibillin, http://www. pilgrimsofibillin. org/abuna-elias-chacour/. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 2 Ben-Ami, Shlomo. “A debate : Is Zionism today the real enemy of the Jews? ” The New York Times, http://www. nytimes. com/2005/02/04/opinion/04iht-edbenami_ed3_. html, 04 February 2005. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 3 Kestler-DAmours, Jillian. “Israeli wall isolates Palestinian communities. ” Al Jezeera, http://www. aljazeera. om/indepth/features/2012/12/20121225825178322. html, 01 January 2013. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 4 “The Panorama Middle East Archives: Rise of the PLO”. BBC, http://www. bbc. co. uk/learningzone/clips/the-panorama-middle-east-archives-rise-of-the-plo/9424. html, 06 February 2009. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 5 “The Palestinian Authority. ” The New York Times, http://topics. nytimes. com/topics/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/pales tinian_authority/index. html, 04 January 2013. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 6 Erlanger, Steven. “Leader Celebrates Founding of Hamas With Defiant Speech. The New York Times, http://www. nytimes. com/2012/12/09/world/middleeast/khaled-meshal-hamas-leader-delivers-defiant-speech-on-anniversary-celebration. html, 08 December 2012. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 7 “Hezbollah. ” The New York Times, http://topics. nytimes. com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/h/hezbollah/index. html, 15 August 2012. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 8 “Challenges in Defining an Israeli-Palestinian Border. ” The New York Times, http://www. nytimes. com/interactive/2011/09/05/world/middleeast/challenges-in-defining-an-israeli-palestinian-border. html. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. Kershner, Isabel “Elusive Line Defines Lives in Israel and the West Bank. ” The New York Times, http://www. nytimes. com/2011/09/07/world/middleeast/07borders. html? pagewanted=all&_r=006, September 2011. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 10 Olmert, Josef. “Hamas, bin Laden and Palestinian-Israeli Peace. ” Huffington Post, http://www. huffingtonpost. com/dr-josef-olmert/hamas-bin-laden-and-pales_b_857192. html, 03 May 2011. Web. 04 Jan. 2013. 11 “Messages from bin Laden . ” Al Jezeera, Middle East, http://www. aljazeera. com/news/middleeast/2011/05/20115272955828212. html. Web. 04 Jan. 2013.