of SABEEL rose out of the oppression of Palestinians by the state of
Israel and is rooted in righting the injustices inflicted upon the
indigenous people of the Holy Land.
to unite the World Wide Body of Christ to the suffering of their
sisters, brothers and cousins in the dysfunctional family of Father
SABEEL is a global ecumenical Christian organization
that collaborates with Muslims, Jews and any other faith and those
without who work together for peace by seeking justice in the Holy Land:
equal human rights for all and an end to the Israeli Occupation of
Rev. Ateek teaches that when the Bible is correctly
read it points to a God of justice and God seeks the liberation of all
addresses in particular the Christians who have been misled and
misinformed by an heretical and anti-Christ theology, such as Christian
Zionists like the GOP candidates who support the ongoing 44 years of
military occupation, The Apartheid Wall and the illegal settlers but
they have no eyes to see or ears to hear their Palestinian sisters and
brothers in Christ, who are known as The Forgotten Faithful.
SABEEL’s theology is based on Jesus' example of non-violence and on what
Jesus taught: that one must forgive to be forgiven, one must pray for
and do good towards ones enemies-NOT to impose sanctions, bomb, torture
or occupy them!
on the cross is in vain unless his follower’s comprehend he was saying
ENOUGH with the violence of man against man! It is to END with my
Over a thousand years prior, in Genesis 9:
5-6, it was written:
"And from each man, I will demand an
accounting for the life of his fellow man. If anyone sheds the blood of
man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has man
The 6th Commandment is "You shall not
SABEEL also reminds us that God is not a racist,
does not play favorites, nor loves any ethnic group over any another.
SABEEL sees Jesus in his divinity and in the fullness of his
humanity and I add that the term Christian was not even coined until
three decades after Jesus walked the land where he promised the
peacemakers are the children of God.
Jesus was a
Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior and he was born, lived and died
under a brutal Military Occupation and his follower's were called
Members of The Way.
and Feminist Theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether explains SABEEL
developed “an anti-imperial theology. It stands in the tradition of the
anti-imperial theologies of Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament, and
applies this critique of ancient empire to modern empires, such as the
American empire. It rejects a Son of David imperial Christology, rooting
itself in a Suffering Servant Christology of the early Church, in its
non-violent way of the cross. It is a theology that aims at
reconciliation and peace, through a social, economic and political
transformation of relationships between Israel and Palestinians that
makes it possible for these people to co-exist in genuine justice."
In November 2008, I attended SABEEL's 7th International Conference
in the Holy Land: THE NAKBA: MEMORY, REALITY AND BEYOND,
conference Reverend Ateek also guided me through his boyhood village
which had became 100% Israeli in 1948 when the Zionists came and forced
all the Palestinians to flee under threat of death.
father was the town's only and very successful Jeweler. His response to
the Israeli soldiers who ordered him to vacate his home immediately and
board a bus that would make the family into refugees was, "Naked I came
into this world and naked I will leave it."
In his book,
“A Palestinian Christian Cry for
Reconciliation” Rev. Ateek wrote:
"The Christian faith points to two
superior levels that can lead to reconciliation and forgiveness and
repentance is a precondition; it must precede reconciliation and
forgiveness. Repentance calls for the admission of guilt, crime and
“In the conflict between Israel and Palestine,
repentance would correspond to an admission of guilt by the government
of Israel of the injustice it has dealt to the Palestinians in its
confiscation of land, violation of human rights, and its systems of
domination and oppression.
“There is the divine paradigm of
revolutionary forgiveness even when no admission of guilt [is
expressed]. Christians are suppose to practice forgiveness of others
because it is how God deals with us: as God forgives continually, we
must forgive others." [Ateek, Page 183-184]
That kind of
forgiveness is radical and revolutionary and exactly what Jesus
demonstrated as he hung upon the Roman Empire's Cross of capitol
punishment after he quoted from Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you
with a plea for reconciliation: "Father, forgive them, they know not
what they are doing." [Luke 23:34]
Way past time
for Christian and Mormon politicians to act upon the simple truth that
only the truth can set US free and only justice can bring a secure peace
for all the people of the Holy Land.
"Justice is done when
international law is implemented. So long as the injustices persist,
hate and its derivatives have the upper hand…justice and peace begins
when the oppressor becomes aware of its violations of the other's
humanity. Justice is done when the international community, through
nonviolent methods, forces Israel to put an end to its injustice…justice
tempered by mercy and compassion. The doing of justice must not crush
the enemy but hold the enemy accountable…no hope for change is possible
until the occupation ends."[Ateek, Page 185]
of Christianity is to bear witness to what Jesus was always on about;
forgiveness and love.
"Christians must condemn violence and
terrorism whether it is recorded in legendary stories or in history
being written today. We condemn suicide bombings as a crime against God.
It is a crime to shed another's blood; it must also be equally criminal,
if not more so, to shed ones own blood. Those who love God do not kill
themselves for the sake of God. Nothing justifies the killing of
people."[Ateek, Page 123-124]
"No hope for
change is even possible until the occupation ends!
step is to confront and analyze the roots of the conflict and its
development…to move toward a solution in Israel-Palestine, the illegal
Israeli occupation must come to an end and Palestinian violence must
stop…Justice will be done when international law is implemented…Once
justice is done, peace will not be far off." [Ateek, page 185]
The last time I saw
Reverend Ateek was on October 5, 2009 in D.C. at a SABEEL conference. I
was already convinced there was no need for me to take my 8th
reality trip through the West Bank to investigate and report because:
“Enough with the analysis! We are dying in Palestine and everything is
clear! We need an American Intifada [Arabic for rise up and cast off].
We must continue our work here in D.C. and empower the UN; the conflict
belongs there and USA policy must be changed. And yes we can do it
because our God is a God of Justice, Hope and Love."
In 2011, I
became a candidate for US House of Representatives, Florida District 5.
3, 2006, Ateek addressed over 330 international ecumenical Christians
who had gathered in Jerusalem at the Notre Dame Conference Center forSABEEL’s
6th International Conference: The Forgotten Faithful.
sent chills through me when he stated, “Israel will not survive unless
it does justice! The situation is deteriorating and we must frustrate
Israel’s plans and actions because they are not built on justice. All we
are asking for is that they honor International Law! Israel is afraid of
International law and this proves something is very wrong with Israel.
We want Israel to live in peace and with security. The only way is
honoring International law. That is the bottom line and what we work and
Reverend Ateek’s classic “Justice and Only
Justice” laid the foundation of a theology that addresses the
conflict over Palestine and explores the political as well as the
religious, biblical and theological dimensions. From a position of
faith, Reverend Ateek seeks solutions based on justice, peace,
nonviolence and reconciliation.
On November 8, 2006 Reverend
Ateek informed me:
“In Israel officially speaking of Palestinians
is taboo: we are referred to as Arab Christians. When I say the Holy
Land I include both Israel and Palestine. Ultimately only God knows
about the future of Christianity in this place. We live in the
scientific world and God has given us wisdom, knowledge, technology to
be used for good and our future and destiny are in Gods hands.
“There are many red lights; external and internal dangers. What can we
do at the grass roots level? The Palestinian Christian community must
rise above petty denominational differences. The impending dangers force
us to ask what can we do, what must we do?
“There is no future in
isolation or passivity. Our futures are all linked together. There is an
urgent need to articulate and work with other faiths, especially Islam.
Our future depends on good relations with all our brothers and sisters.
We need a Committee of Christian and Muslim leaders to dialogue and work
together to confront militant extremist fundamentalism.
relation with Israel is the most important issue for there can be no
peace without justice. There can be no effective policy without ending
the occupation in accordance with all UN Resolutions. The city of
Jerusalem must be shared and there must be a just solution for refugees.
“Pressure on Israel must be done with nonviolent needs and the way
is the way Christ taught: nonviolent and forgiving. The achievement of
peace is not the end; but the beginning of reconciliation. The survival
of Christianity in the Holy land is through true democracy. We must
avoid the minority complex. We cannot depend on the good will of people
in power. We want to be protected by a constitution with full
citizenship and nationality must be combined. Only in Israel is there a
distinction between nationality and citizenship. Only good democracy can
guarantee all citizens are treated equally under the same law.”
“What can the West do? There is an urgent need for education about the
roots of Christians in Palestine and to challenge the myths. Seek out
Palestinian Christians in your midst and relate to them. Be aware of
Palestinian concerns for justice and human rights. Work for a just
solution of the conflict, which is equal human right for all. Support
projects to increase the Christian witness: visit the Holy land and meet
with Palestinian Christians. Forge closer links with churches in the
West and in the Holy Land. Challenge Christian Zionism. Think
“In the beginning the Jesus movement was very small.
It began with 12 committed citizens. It began with love and Christ
addressed his followers: FEAR NOT little flock! You are the salt of the
earth and the light of the world. To capture the essence of what
Christians should be is to be salt and light. You don’t need a lot of
salt to add flavor and even a small light can illuminate the way for
“To be salt and light is to be truthful, honest, have
integrity and to be of service and do it with humility. Salt affects
change: it is active, never passive. To be a light is a global challenge
and when the light is seen clearly so is the glory of God. Sabeel means
the way, and the way is to love all your neighbors and labor on with
Israel has no
constitution but does have a Declaration of their Establishment:
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the
strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of
Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the
prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and
political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will
guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to
the Charter of the United Nations." -May 14, 1948.
And what a
wonderful world it will be when Israel honors its original promises and
words and American politicians told the truth and everyone listened to
what the many Palestinian Gandhi's are talking about: