Sunday, November 19, 2006

Protests Force Israel to Halt Airstrikes

Q: We’ve recently received reports that individual civilians have surrounded several buildings, and have defiantly taken up positions on several rooftops, in Gaza to prevent Israeli air strikes – ("protests force Israel to halt airstrikes")...

A: …what we, of course, view as State sponsored terrorism.

Q: What is the Rose Crescent’s position on Palestinians acting as human shields to protect homes?

A: First, let me say that our hearts go out to our Muslim brothers and sisters in the Gaza Strip. As you know, we do have a number of Rose Crescent members in Palestine who are working amongst the people to promote non-violence resistance.

We hope that this coming together as human shields will be the first act towards an awakening of consciousness in the Palestinian people towards the power of what Gandhi called Satyagraha.

Q: Do you think the strategy of humans shielding homes will work?

A: Work to dissuade the Israelis, you mean? Only if this kernel follows Gandhi’s path and the Palestinian people take the moral high road. But to do so they’ll have to give up decades of the ingrained “Kalashnikov mentality.”

Q: That won’t be easy.

A: No, it won’t.

Q: Some of them have even taken their AKs up onto the rooftop with them.

A: What the Palestinian people need to realize, and both the entire Arab world and the Israelis for that matter, is that they won’t be safe until the Israelis feel safe.

Muslims need to realize that we are dealing with a people who have been so deeply scarred by the Holocaust that they react to Arabs as if they are fighting Nazis. For many of them, they are still in the Warsaw Ghetto. To fight the Palestinians is to do battle with the Gestapo.

We need to transform the Israeli psychology. But if all the Palestinians do is shield militants, who then carry out more bombings, than the entire human shield will be as pathetic as the Second Infitadah has become.

Q: So what do you propose?

A: What we propose is that peace in the Middle East must begin by healing the trauma of the “Shoa.” As Muslims and Sufis, it is our obligation to assist our Jewish brothers and sisters towards that goal. By pursuing non-violence we can rescue them from reality – which is that they are in grave danger of becoming the very monster they have been flailing against.

Q: How is that connected to our understanding of the “divine plan”?

A: We are all awaiting the return of the same Messiah. We know that. This is not a Messiah for one religion, race, and nation only. When the Messiah (the Mahdi) comes, he or she will be for the entire earth, uniting all peoples, tribes and religions in peace.

Our failing, as Muslims, is simple, and for that Palestinians are paying the consequences.

Q: What do you mean?

A: When the Holocaust happened, it was our duty to open our hearts to the Jewish people and welcome them into the abode of peace. We did this after the Inquisition. And Jews and Muslims lived, for the most part, in a dynamic symbiosis. We can all benefit from each other in terms of learning, trade, medicine, etc.

Q: Do you think that God is punishing us for not having welcomed the Jews?

A: Of course, it is impossible to say. Our understanding, though, is that Allah is love.

Let's go back to history, Muslims at the time were dealing with their own problems, namely, centuries of European colonialism. Jewish immigration, coupled with the Zionist agenda, prevented more than just a handful of us from seeing what our duty was. This has been our failing. This has been our tragedy.

Q: So, by taking the path of Satyagraha, you think the Palestinian people will benefit?

A: Both in this life and in the life to come.

Q: But what if the Israelis don't respond?

A: How can they not? If they wanted to destroy every Palestinian in Gaza they could easily do it. They have the weapons. They could drop chemical, or even nuclear, weapons and kill every man, woman and child in less than 48 hours. There are only three things preventing that from happening: First, the will of Allah; second, the Jewish people's beliefs about themselves (their calling as the chosen people); and third, international outcry. The Nazis would have had no problems exterminating the Palestinians.

Q: So what your saying is that, essentially, Palestinian resistance, the lone bomber and the few militants with a rifle, depends on Israeli mercy.

A: The Palestinian armed resistance is both pathetic and useless. The only way to "win" is for everyone to win. The only way to be safe is for everyone to be safe. The Jews can't do this. They're too stuck in the past. This really depends on the Palestinian people.

Q: Let's pray they gain the insight and wisdom.


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