On March 19, Israeli forces rounded up Assad Salach and his sons, Fahmi and Salach, and Assad's brother Sa'id and his son Ghassan -- along with more than 300 men age 16 and above -- along its northern border with the Gaza Strip. It is not the first time Israel has arrested the male members of the Salach family.
These days when militants launch homemade Qassam rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, they are usually launched from within the cities, not these border areas. Thus, [...]
Recently, I had the unique opportunity of meeting with four Iraqi evangelicals at a conference in a country near Iraq. They were young church leaders. Despite the circumstances in their country, they were upbeat and gracious. Having never been to Iraq, nor having personally met an Iraqi, I was eager to hear their perspectives on current events. My conversations with them helped me understand to a greater degree the true complexity of war.
One of them was a church planter in a large [...]
Recently, I participated in a conference call based on a report from The Task Force For A Responsible Withdrawal From Iraq. The report argued that the United States can and should do the following: quickly withdraw American military forces from Iraq, "carefully pursue diplomatic remedies for the Iraq crisis," and "generously give to help rebuild Iraq in the long run." For the policy wonks, the report offers
I arrived in the West Bank the afternoon of Saturday, June 7, and hit the ground running. The next morning we starting filming for a film on Palestinian nonviolent resistance I am working on this summer. That Sunday, we did a long interview with Daoud Nassar, whose family owns a plot of land in the Palestinian village of Nahalin, just a few [...]
Samuel Huntington, the Harvard political scientist and the author of The Clash of Civilizations, contends that unless things change, we are facing an era marked by religious wars.
Just about every military struggle between 1945 and 1995 was over political-economic ideologies. This was true of revolutions in Latin America and Southeast Asia led by Leninists and Maoists trying to establish Communist regimes, or by the CIA endeavoring to overthrow governments that [...]
President Bush's remarks, made last week in Israel, suggesting that anyone who wishes to talk with a violent enemy is the contemporary equivalent of a Hitler appeaser, are so wide of the mark, patronizing, and simply untrue that they must be challenged.
The fact that he used the emotive context of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations as the background for these comments is an abuse of an already misused people. And implying that Sen. Obama wishes to appease terrorism is not [...]
I recently joined many prominent Christian leaders in signing a joint declaration on Israel's 60th anniversary. The signers are too many to list here but they include church leaders, theologians, and the heads of international missions agencies who have an intimate knowledge of the region's history, theological significance, and present reality. (To name just a sampling: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director/CEO, [...]
Wow, you're turning 60. Incredible. Happy birthday to you!
I feel a little bit like I'm showing up at your birthday party without a gift. The truth is, you and I don't really know each other. I know we're related, but we don't have much of a relationship. That's been my choice, I realize. I wasn't sure how to feel about you, so I turned my attention elsewhere for a while.
I get frustrated sometimes by how much attention we lavish on you. I [...]
When approaching a conflict, any world statesperson would consider trying to break up the logjam. A Christian leader who has always stood for justice and human rights and who takes the issue of the sancity of life seriously has no choice but to try and see what he or she can do to stop the bloodshed. In a protracted conflict, adding new ideas from a high-profile figure can help shake up the status quo. While it is unlikely for an ex-president to be able to extract major concessions, what [...]
In the Washington Post and throughout the blogosphere, debates rage about the recent spate of violence between Palestinians and Israelis, each side condemning with righteous indignation the sins of the other and proclaiming their own side's innocence. In a recent Post letters section, for example, Yaffa Klugerman wrote, "I was shocked to read [the] assertion that the [...]
In November our friend Pastor Rich Nathan sent us this compelling sermon and we've been looking for a good time to post it ever since. The occasion of Bush's trip to the Middle East seems to be a good time for Christians to reflect on their relationship with the modern nation of Israel. You can click to read [...]
President Bush is in Israel today, meeting with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and expressing optimism that a peace treaty could be signed by the conclusion of his term: "with proper help, the state of Palestine will emerge."
But even as he expresses support for a two-state solution, President Bush is hearing a lot from extremists in the religious right who [...]
So I don't know whether to laugh or cry about the latest progressive addition to the classic nativity scene: the separation wall.
Either way, I love it.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out Christian Peacemaker Teams' "No Way to the Inn" campaign. Or, to purchase your own little [...]
The Nov. 27 Annapolis meeting on Israel/Palestine has launched us into a momentous one-year process to seek a permanent peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors. What is at stake is whether after more than 50 years of ghastly conflict and widespread bloodshed, genuine peace can come to one of the most dangerous areas and most divisive problems in our world.
Important steps were [...]