Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ransom captive Israel

Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel.
Who mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
has come to thee, oh Israel.

Sometimes we sing Christmas carols without particularly thinking about what we are singing, as as if they were "Ring around the rosy" or "Happy Birthday", just songs we learned when we were little. Even though God-with-us has come, Israel's troubles continue.
On this map of Israel there is a tiny dark-pink sliver on the bottom left side, up against the Mediterranean coast, called the Gaza Strip. You will see a big yellow dot- this is Gaza City. This is where the Palestinian government operates, even though its not technically an independent country, and the Palestinian people democratically voted Hamas into power (although the US govt says Hamas is a terrorist organization). Hamas has been launching rockets (which are most likely paid for/supported by Iran) about 25 miles into Southern Israeli cities (circled in yellow), partially because Israel sealed all the borders of Gaza so that no food, people, medicine, etc can get in or out. Circled in pink are Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Too close for comfort.

Israel sealed the borders because Palestinian terrorists were suicide bombers in Israel, and also because lots of weapons were getting smuggled through underground tunnels into Gaza from its tiny southern border with Egypt. Now, Israel is responding to the rockets from Gaza by bombing Gaza, and Israel has much more superior firepower, so huge damage is being caused. 10 Israelis total have died. Almost 700 Palestinian civilians have died, and the people there have no electricity, only a handful of doctors. Some haven't eaten in days. Even before this violence broke out, the sealing of the borders of Gaza meant the people living there were in an extreme humanitarian crisis.

Israel says it will stop if Hamas stops, but then it launched a ground invastion and is now rolling tanks through Gaza. The UN says 750,000 people don't have anything to eat today. Israel refuses to negotiate directly with Hamas (because they consider it a terrorist organization), but might do so through Egypt. The UN Relief and Works agency says 50% of the deaths and injuries have been women and children.

I sat in front of the news last night and just cried.

Why has Obama been silent on this? I have been excited to watch Obama's first steps because I believe he means to restore our standing in the world, and wants America to be a leader for peace- so why is the French President the one leading the peace efforts?
No matter your politics, or your national allegiance, your heart must break for these people, just trying to go about their daily lives, who are in the middle of a war caused by decisions so far above their heads.

No comments: