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Prayer for Palestinians:

A Call By James J David,

a Retired US Brigadier-General

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 19, 2011


During Mass and shortly after the sermon, at the recital of prayer, we are asked to "pray for Israel and the Jewish people who gave us our Lord who walked the land of Israel."  We are also asked to pray for Peace in the Middle East.  I always bow my head and say a prayer. 

Having served in the U.S. Army, active and reserve, for nearly 30 years, I was stationed in and around the Middle East during the 1967 Six Day War.  It was after this war that the Palestinians suffered the most and continue to this day.   

The Palestinians are an occupied people. They are humiliated every day with collective punishment, checkpoints, curfews, travel restrictions, water rationing, home demolitions, land confiscations, blockades, and a continued and ongoing construction of illegal Jewish settlements on their own land.   These settlements are the biggest threat to peace, and more than 60 percent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem has been confiscated and used to construct illegal Jewish settlements.   Yet, our politicians and our media refuse to criticize Israel for these crimes.  Instead, and because of political survivability, our politicians and our media do all in their power to praise the Israelis while at the same time place the blame on the Palestinians.   The Israeli Lobby, AIPAC, is credited for influencing Congress, our political leaders, and the major media outlets. 

Our own U.S. State Department had to withdraw the prestigious Fulbright grant from seven Palestinian students living in Gaza because Israel would not give these students exit visas to leave the country.  The Israeli government controls Gaza's borders and sees all Palestinians as threats to Israel, including these students.  The U.S. government used its leverage to demand the Israelis release just a few. 

Since 1967, Israeli forces have demolished 24,813 Palestinian homes. 90% of these homes were destroyed for 'administrative' reasons because they either lacked a permit or were in an area designated for expansion by the Israeli military.  No permits have been issued by Israeli authorities for Palestinian construction in the Occupied Territories since 1967.  Why is it that we never hear any outrage from the Catholic Church or from the Vatican?  We would never be silent if this same thing were happening to the Israeli people.  Is the Catholic Church a victim of  this "political correctness" too? 

Rarely since the Second World War has a people been so vilified as the Palestinians.  And rarely has a people been so frequently excused and placated as the Israelis.    

I would hope that the Catholic Church would take the lead and condemn these human rights violations and stop ignoring them.  Let's say a prayer for Jews, a prayer for Israel, and a prayer for  for the Palestinians in the land of Palestine.   After all, our Lord was born in Bethlehem and worked in Jerusalem, the beautiful cities in Palestine.  But most of all, let's say a prayer that both sides come together, end the violence, and bring peace to the Middle East. 

James J. David is a retired Brigadier General and a graduate of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington, DC. He served as a Company Commander with the 101st Airborne Division in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970 and also served nearly 3 years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969.)




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