Archives For Palestine

 

Foundational Justice

A Review of

A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict
Naim Stifan Ateek

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2017

Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [Kindle ]

Reviewed by Leroy Seat
 
 

Naim Stifan Ateek (b. 1937) is an ethnic Arab Palestinian, a citizen of Israel, and an Anglican priest. His slim but highly significant book is the fruit of decades of theological thought and praxis.

Nearly thirty years ago Ateek wrote a closely related book, Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation. In that same year, 1989, he founded Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. That organization has continued to grow in influence through the years with chapters in several countries. One such chapter is FOSNA (Friends of Sabeel North America).
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We are proud to announce the release of the new ebook:

A Space for Peace in the Holy Land: Listening to Modern Israel and Palestine
Alex Joyner

Ebook: Englewood Review of Books, 2014.
Buy now:  [ Kindle ]

“In A Space for Peace in the Holy Land, Alex challenges Christians to bear witness to the space that God has opened in the world by the empty tomb of Jesus Christ, to pray and to work for the reconciliation of Palestinians and Jews in the Middle East, and to support those persons, institutions, and policies that will make for peace in this most contested place in the world. The vision that he presents does not allow us to succumb to frustration or ideological posturing, but challenges us to serve the work of reconciliation that God has entrusted to us through Jesus Christ.”
-Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, United Methodist Church

“A Space for Peace in the Holy Land is a particularly helpful resource that sheds light on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This little book is essential reading for any Christian who desires to understand and to be engaged in this conflict.”
– C. Christopher Smith, co-author SLOW CHURCH: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

 

Read the book’s introduction below…
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Called to be Compassionate Listeners

A Brief Review of

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers
Dale Hanson Bourke

Paperback: IVP Books, 2013.
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Ellen Painter Dollar.
 
Until recently, most of my knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came from stories. As a child, I was captivated by my father’s Time-Life books on World War II, especially the one about the Holocaust. I sat looking at the photos of doomed Jews, struggling to absorb the stories they told, their horror far too vast for my child’s heart (for anyone’s heart) to fully comprehend. For my religion major in college, I took an entire course on the Holocaust, which gave me a wider historical lens through which to view the horrific events of 1930s and 40s Europe. I learned how Jews had been denied citizenship even in countries where they had lived for centuries. I began to understand how a people without the protection of a state that claims them are uniquely vulnerable to persecution. For the first time, I understood why the state of Israel was so necessary.
 
I started hearing stories of Palestinian life when a friend started traveling regularly to the West Bank for her work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She met Palestinian shepherds who were unable to easily get to their land—land that has been in their families for generations—to care for their sheep because of a checkpoint or other barrier. She and her team accompanied Palestinian children to school, and held conversations with both Palestinians and Israelis. Some of my friend’s most poignant stories are of conversations with young Israeli soldiers, in which they let down their guard and say that they sometimes struggle with the moral questions raised by their job.

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Invaluable and Necessary and Absolutely Brilliant

A Review of

Letters from Apartheid Street: A Christian Peacemaker in Occupied Palestine
Michael McRay

Paperback: Wipf and Stock, 2013
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 Reviewed by Wes Magruder

 

There is absolutely nothing original, novel, or strikingly new in Michael T. McRay’s book, Letters From Apartheid Street: A Christian Peacemaker in Occupied Palestine, which consists of letters and journal entries during his two-month stint with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron, Palestine, in January and February 2012.

 

And nothing happened in Hebron during McRay’s stay that doesn’t happen on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis in occupied Palestine. McRay recounts episodes of random soldier searches, harassment of children on their way to school, and midnight raids and seizures.

 

Those who keep themselves abreast of the ongoing narrative in Israel/Palestine beyond that which is spun by the major American media outlets are well aware of the real situation. The separation wall built by Israel has further marginalized and isolated the people of Palestine, while emboldening the growing settler movement.

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A Brief Review of A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.
By Naim Ateek.

Reviewed by R. Dean Hudgens.

A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.
Ateek, Naim S.

Foreword by Abp. Desmond Tutu.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ]  [ Amazon ]

     Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest and an Arab citizen of Israel, is the founder, president and director of Sabeel, an ecumenical theological center in Jerusalem dedicated to working for the liberation of Palestinians.  In this book he presents a vision for nonviolent Christian engagement in what is perhaps the most central conflict bottlenecking the cause of peace in the Middle East.

     The Israeli occupation of Palestine has created a culture of violence that has dehumanized and oppressed both Israelis and Palestinians.  The violent resistance to occupation on the part of some Palestinians has only made the situation more tragic and hopeless.  Is there any legitimate hope that the twenty-first century will be any less violent than the blood-soaked twentieth?  Will public opinion at some point in the future put greater pressure on governments to limit their lust for war and to pursue peaceful means for the resolution of conflicts?    Ateek’s book is a plea for a nonviolent Palestinian intifada.  Christians contribute to this peacemaking by returning to the revolutionary politics of Jesus, who taught that evil can be resisted without violence.

     After a brief review of the history of the conflict, Ateek addresses  the central section of his book to the exposition of a nonviolent Palestinian theology of liberation.  He asserts that the conflict in the Middle East is rooted in disputes about land and exclusive theologies of land.  Forms of Christian Zionism (e.g., politically engaged dispensationalism) reinforce this exclusivity.  Ateek lifts up Jonah as the first Palestinian liberation theologian who condemns restrictive, nationalistic theologies.  It is crucial to oppose expressions of Christian Zionism as an oppressive heresy exacerbating this conflict.  Attek writes that “The God whom we have come to know in Jesus Christ is not the God of Armageddon but the God of Golgotha” (91).

     Getting to the roots of the conflict and its development is foundational.  Justice is the key component.  The illegal Israeli occupation must come to an end and Palestinian violence must cease.  International law must be implemented and Israel must recognize Palestinian rights and make restitution for its offenses.  Ateek proposes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a necessary step in creating accountability and reconciling the conflicting narratives.

     Ateek’s critique of Israeli policy is stringent and unrelenting, yet he does not spare his Palestinian kindred and the futility of resistance based upon anger, hatred, and violent resistance.  Ateek is not content to concede political engagement to the “realists” nor to proclaim a passive gospel that remains disengaged from the conflict.  He proposes that the only hope for the world (and for the renewal of the church) is to proclaim the nonviolent gospel of Jesus in the public square, and to live it out in the market place, the traffic intersections, the courtrooms, and the legislatures.  It is morally and spiritually incumbent upon Christians around the world to join him in this mission.