In the heart of Palestine, amid ongoing struggles and suffering, we at the Arab Educational Institute (AEI-Pax Christi) want to make a plea for humanity, empathy, and a commitment to international humanitarian law. Our voices stress the need to protect the most vulnerable, especially in Gaza.
The following are quotes from group members coming together these days at AEI’s Sumud Story House.
According to Shireen the present conflict is marked by an “ongoing occupation, ongoing Nakba, ongoing injustices, oppression, denial, and non-recognition of the Palestinian right to self-determination.” The persistent injustices demand our attention and action. The cycle of violence, which has inflicted pain on both sides, has perpetuated suffering for generations.
A Cry for Peace and Justice
“I expect a renewal of battles, wars, attacks, and violence,” says Iman. She warns us of the relentless cycle of violence that engulfs innocent lives. The plea calls for a collective effort to put an end to the continuous bloodshed and seek a lasting resolution that respects the rights of all parties involved.
The Significance of Sacred Spaces
Tamer: “The Israeli right-wing government and former governments have been ignorant or unaware of the importance of Al Aqsa Mosque and the holy places to us as Muslims.” These sacred sites are not only religious but also cultural symbols deeply rooted in the hearts of Palestinians. Their protection is an obligation to preserve the shared heritage of humanity.
Protecting the Innocent
George: “The protection of prisoners, hostages, and civilians is of utmost importance to us Palestinians.” This solemn commitment to safeguarding human lives resonates with the principles of international humanitarian law. Innocent civilians must be shielded from harm, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity.
The Responsibility of the International Community
“Where are the democratic, human rights, and world governments in response to the daily repressive actions of the occupation against the Palestinian people, land, and all our institutions?” says Mary. The international community must play a pivotal role in upholding justice and human rights. The world cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the suffering of an entire population.
Seeking Forgiveness and Reconciliation
“Forgiveness, love, and reconciliation are steps that must be built upon justice and equality.” These words of Helen remind us that genuine peace cannot be achieved without addressing the underlying issues and grievances of both sides. Reconciliation is a path forward, one that acknowledges the humanity of all involved.
A Call for Reflection
“Let’s stop blaming one another and writing statements of denunciation and solidarity. Let’s analyze the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” says Raed. It is essential to examine the historical and political factors that have contributed to the conflict. Only through a comprehensive understanding can we hope to find a resolution.
A Message of Hope and Faith
“Renew your minds, attitudes, and behavior by living your faith, hope, and love on the path to justice and peace,” according to Anwar. This plea resonates with a message of hope, encouraging individuals from all walks of life to embrace the values of peace, empathy, and justice.
The Impact of Economic Stagnation
Abdu: “How long will our main source of income, tourism, remain dormant due to this unavoidable wave of violence and attacks? How can we survive such a catastrophe?” Economic stability is crucial for the well-being of any society. The prolonged conflict has devastating effects on livelihoods and opportunities for progress.
A Plea for International Intervention
Yara: “Why doesn’t Israel wake up, struggle, and work hard together with its Western allies to initiate serious and immediate peace talks based on UN resolutions related to the Palestinian cause to end its more than 75 years of occupation and achieve just, lasting justice, peace, and security for all while addressing the challenges in the Holy Land and striving for prosperity and development for future generations?” The call for international intervention is crucial to bring both parties to the negotiating table and ensure a fair and lasting solution to the conflict.
The Impact on Future Generations
Iman: “As a Palestinian Christian believer, I feel that the present dire situation calls for me and all my fellow believers, Christians and Muslims, to reexamine our holy books, seek more commonalities and verses promoting peace, and set an example for our children to become peace builders in our communities.” The actions we take today will shape the perceptions and values of future generations. It is our duty to guide them towards a path of peace and coexistence.
Ending the Cycle of Violence
Fuad: “Enough of witnessing scenes of killings, bombings, atrocities, suffering, pain, fear, and lawlessness on all fronts. We are fed up. Let us all be convinced that violence begets violence, and continued occupation and persecution will never lead to justice, peace, security, and reconciliation for all.” The message is clear: violence begets violence, and it is time to break this destructive cycle.
The voices from AEI-Pax Christi in Bethlehem emphasize the urgent need to prioritize humanity, protect the vulnerable, and adhere to international humanitarian law. Palestine-Israel is not an issue confined to the region alone; it is a global concern that calls for collective efforts and strong measures to ensure a just and peaceful future for all parties involved.
The names mentioned in this article are pseudonyms.