First of all thank you. I’m fine, I’m in no immediate danger. Because I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian, because it can be seen, I would say here “it can be smelled”. The risk that a rocket falling on Jerusalem would hit me is infinitesimal (…). Jerusalem where I live is dismayed and people are staying at home, following civil security directives. (…) In both realities of the city, Arab and Jewish, the observation is the same 75%: stores are closed, there are few people in the street. This is, in fact, less due to the risk to our lives than to the fact that everyone is wiped out. Our souls have been put to the test since Saturday.
I condemn without hesitation the massacres perpetrated by Hamas. The number of deaths is not only staggering, but the conditions in which civilians, children, women and the elderly were murdered are barbaric. The deaths of the rave party, the pogrom of the kibbutz of Be’eri are unspeakable in horror.
Am I surprised? By everything that has happened since Saturday: yes. Surprised, appalled, frightened, frozen, stunned.
However, anyone following the Palestinian situation knew that the situation was untenable and would explode. For months, we have been wondering about the possibility of a third intifada. Before Saturday October 7, the year 2023 was already the deadliest in years on both Israeli and Palestinian camps. On the other hand, no one would have imagined this shape. And in the bankruptcy of Israeli services and in the barbarity of Hamas.
The volcano was smoldering, we knew it. And on the part of the Churches, it is not for lack of having alerted. I hope that those who created these conditions will one day be held accountable.
Yesterday a young Israeli man said to me: “Are we really surprised? As if we weren’t arrogant enough to believe that we had reduced 5 million Palestinians to living like Native Americans on reservations.” that we leave to them. Later in the conversation, he told me that he had been an elite soldier and had killed scores of Palestinians and that at the time he was “comfortable with that.” (…) And he continued: “One day in my unit, one of us protected the life of a terrorist against all those who wanted to lynch him. He is the hero. Killing is is easy, it’s within the reach of any fool. Seeing the Man in your enemy, that’s what makes you a Mensch, a human being. That day, I grew up watching what heroes can do.”
What happened to the Israelis is unspeakable, what many Israelis are demanding, the pure and simple elimination of 2 million gaziotes, is no less so. The measures taken by the Israeli government to cut off water and electricity are not taken to eradicate Hamas as indicated but to collectively punish a population which has lived under the yoke of these Muslim radicals since 2006.
Everyone I meet is devastated. Including the Palestinians I know. I am aware that some people are still rejoicing. Although between Saturday morning’s rejoicing at the idea that Israeli security may have been thwarted in this way and today’s reaction to the idea of cascading reactions, there are immense differences. And me in there? I love both peoples, each for different reasons. More than they can imagine. I find both legitimate to live on this earth. I recognize both. Leave ? I chose this land and its inhabitants and have no intention of leaving them (…)
For the 25 years that I have lived here, I have worked at my level to make the path to conciliation possible, in the absence of reconciliation for a long time. I refused to espouse the speeches of one against the other. I worked on not letting myself be poisoned by hatred. It’s not for lack of seeing something to rock. I refuse to have to choose now even if the price is being insulted by both sides. I am neither Israeli nor Palestinian. I do not pretend to be neutral. I claim – as the popes who have come here have said – that this country needs bridges and not walls. I claim to cry over all the dead, without distinction of sex, religion, political party. I claim that the situation we are in is proof that we cannot continue to ignore the rights of Palestinians to live with dignity, in the land where they were born and their fathers before them. (…)
My path here is that of an assumed following of Christ. My path here is to live and nourish myself by the gospels. My path here is the contemplation of the cross and that of the emptiness of the tomb, with the serenity that gives to the darkest hours this act of faith: “Christ is risen from the dead! By death he has conquered death! and He gave life to those in the tombs!” Χριστός Ανέστη εκ νεκρών, θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας και τοις εν τοις μνήμα σιν, ζωήν χαρισάμενος. هذا هو اليوم الذي صنعه الرب، فلنفرح ولنتهلل به المسيح قام من بين ال أموات ووطئ الذين في القبور
If you have read this far, you are entitled to a bonus: “You have heard that it was said: You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Well, I say to you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that they may truly be sons of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. , if you love those who love you, what reward do you deserve? Do not the publicans themselves do the same? And if you only greet your brothers, what extraordinary thing do you do? The pagans themselves do they not do the same? You then will be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5, 43-48.
We love to lose our minds. Let’s love so much that we don’t know what to say!