To the Body of Christ in Israel and Palestine

Statement Against Violence

We, women serving in ministry from within the Messianic Jewish and Palestinian Christian community, publicly affirm our unity in Christ/Messiah. Together we raise our voices against the use of violence in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The use of violence is an affront to the image of God and a sin against the sanctity of life.  We affirm seeking peaceful means to respond to or resolve the conflict.  We denounce the following forms of violence as a response to and/or an effort to control or solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

 

Physical Violence

  • The ongoing Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian people and land (based on 1967 borders).

  • The stabbing of Israeli civilians or any physical violence against Israelis

  • Shooting with intent to kill in order to “neutralize” suspects.[1]

  • Any damage of private property.

  • Collective punishment for the acts of individuals.

Verbal and Psychological Violence

  • The use of demeaning or racist language that dehumanizes or demonizes.

  • Cyber defamation and slander.

  • Intimidation, threats, withholding of information, and social isolation to silence dissent.

Spiritual Violence

  • The use of spiritual authority to ignore, disengage or dishonor others created in the image of God.

  • The use of scripture or theology to exclude one another.

 

As women, we are particularly concerned for the children in our region. Children are being exposed to violence on an ongoing, regular basis. The lack of formal and/or informal peace education and tolerance contributes to the ongoing cycle of violence.

 

We affirm our commitment to seek peace, justice and security for all in Israel and Palestine.

 

We commit ourselves to continue to:

  • Speak out on issues of mutual concern

  • Stand for biblical principles

  • Pray regularly for non-violent resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

 

We encourage you to join us in prayer during the first weekend of every month for a non-violent resolution of the conflict.

 

Shireen Awad, Bethlehem Bible College
Ira Ben-Chaim, Bet Asaph Congregation, Netanya
Angela Hersch, Light to Israel
Dina Katanacho, Arab Israeli Bible Soceity
Lisa Loden, Israel Firstfruits Center
Madlyne Sara, Bethlehem Bible College
Rasha Saba, Yafa Baptist Church
Samar Tanous, Assemblies of God Church, Haifa
Shadia Qubti, Musalaha 

**As signatories to this statement we are expressing our own personal views, and are not speaking as representatives of the ministries we serve, which may or may not hold similar views.

 

We invite you to join with us in endorsing this statement. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] “It has been taught by R. Jonathan ben Saul: If one was pursuing his fellow to slay him, and the pursued could have saved himself by maiming a limb of the pursuer, but instead killed his pursuer, the pursued is subject to execution on that account.” (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin on Self-Defense,73b)

(will not be public)

The following text sets the context, explains our intentions and reasoning, and brings definition to our brief statement against violence. This commentary is an integral part of the statement and should be read together with it.

 

In this statement we define “violence” as the intentional exercise of power, the use of physical or psychological force, whether threatened or actual, that is used against the will of individual persons, groups or communities that either results in, has intention to cause or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, or deprivation. Violence is any physical, emotional, verbal, institutional, structural or spiritual behaviour, attitude, policy or condition that diminishes, dominates or destroys ourselves and others.

 

We identify several types of violence:

  1. Direct violence which is intended to violate the basic needs of an individual, group or community. This is the most common form of violence and is generally identified as being “real” violence since involves it physical action taken against individuals, groups or communities.

  2. Structural violence is embedded in the social, political, and economic structures that make up society. This is indirect violence and is often unseen and is accepted as normative.

  3. Cultural violence is aspects of culture (such as religion and language) legitimizing direct and structural violence and includes the prevailing attitudes and beliefs that we have been taught since childhood about power and the necessity of violence.

 

For more reading, go to:

 

The context of this statement is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Under the category of physical violence we include the military occupation of Palestinian land and people. The word "occupation" is an accepted legal description of the situation and has been the framework in which the military has controlled and administrated the West Bank. The Israeli High Court decisions have been based on the laws of belligerent occupation, similarly IDF judges must apply the laws of occupation under international humanitarian law; whether that be by the confiscation of land, administrative detentions or any other category. The state of Israel itself has accepted the situation in the West Bank as occupation when it signed UN Resolution 242 (1967): "(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict." The main debate is whether Israel needs to withdraw from ALL territories, yet it is clear they accept the Security Council's language of occupation. Decisions handed down by the Israel High Court of Justice use the term occupation to describe the reality of military presence in the West Bank, this ranges from the landmark Elon Moreh case in the 70s, all the way to Beit Sourik Village Council v, The Government of Israel (HCJ 2056/04), which states that: "Since 1967, Israel has been holding the areas of Judea and Samaria [hereinafter- the area] in belligerent occupation...."

 

We refer to 1967 borders since this is the date when Israel officially instituted a military occupation of land that had previously not been under its control. To clarify, Military occupation is effective provisional control of a certain ruling power over a territory which is not under the formal sovereignty of that entity, without the volition of the actual sovereign. Military occupation is distinguished from annexation by its intended temporary nature (i.e. no claim for permanent sovereignty), by its military nature, and by citizenship rights of the controlling power not being conferred upon the subjugated population. Readmore about military occupation here.

 

In this section of the statement (physical violence) we move from the general to the specific. Hence the statements following the first point concerning occupation, refer to specific, direct and identifiable forms of violence.

 

The final two examples of violence, verbal and psychological violence and spiritual violence relate to structural and cultural violence and are self explanatory.

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