Reconciliation in the Holy Land pt.1


On Israel’s Independence Day in 1958 the Israeli military governor had allowed the Palestinian Arabs living in Israel to move around without permits. My father took advantage of this temporary freedom to rent a pickup truck and take all of his children back for the fi rst time to see our home in the town of Beisan, the home from which we had been forced out nine years earlier.=Even today I clearly remember how we were not allowed even to look inside our home. The three houses built by my father that made up our home had been divided into smaller units, each occupied now by a Jewish immigrant family.

So begins Naim Ateek’s beautiful secind volume of A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, a book he wrote 20 years ago. This time out this gentle priest has deepended his insights and done even more homeork over the shocking ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the illegal removal of 750,000 native Palestinians from their birthplaces.They have been replaced of course by those called “the settlers”, Jews from anywhere, the most noxious and ignorant ones from Brooklyn.

Is Ateek angry? Wouldn’t you be?

But Christian priest that he is he never lets righteous indignation get in the way of future, healing possibilities. He  analyzes the situation rationally and faithfully as he moves toward the nonviolent future of a hoped-for reconciliation of the two people who share this unholy land.Particularly instructive is his sharp biblical analysis of Land as in “This land is ours, God gave it to us” the outrageous mantra of the settlers. As well he unpackis  the bizarrre Christian Zionist theology  that supports the state of Israel and everything it does to Palestinians.


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