End stages, new beginnings and MRI’s

Seven years after suffering a massive stroke the comatose ex- Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, displayed “a certain degree of consciousness” in an MRI scan conducted by a joint Israeli-American team.

That was the first NEWS report I read on my birthday. I underwent my first MRI on the last Friday of 2012. The radiologist’s report regarding my “deranged knee” led my M.D. to recommend a total knee replacement as soon as it can be scheduled.

The first email I read as I began my 59th year of life was “THE ISRAELI ELECTIONS: THE BALL IS IN OUR COURT” written by Jeff Halper, the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Halper concluded that, "Israelis have no motivation to end the Occupation…It does not affect their daily lives, and just as important, it does not affect their ability to achieve economic prosperity…In fact, as the laboratory where arms, homeland security devices and other high-tech technologies are developed and marketed, it could be argued that a prosperous Israeli economy depends upon continued occupation…

“Only determined international pressures will move intransigent Israeli governments, but if that happens the Israeli pubic will come along. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the two-state solution is dead, buried under settlements and infrastructure too massive and interlinked with Israel to detach, especially given the lack of will among international governments, led by the US and Germany, to exert the pressures on Israel…[but] we have the wind to our back.

“Over the years we have collectively transformed the Palestine issue into one of the world’s great causes, at the level of the anti-apartheid struggle. But we must show the way. Led by our Palestinian partners into envisioning a new solution more just and more do-able, with the input of their critical Israeli counterparts and their international supporters – some version of a one-state solution or regional confederation – we will have to overcome the irrelevancies of both Israeli and international politics. If the Israeli election 'tells us' anything, it is that the ball is in our court.”

 

I heard Jeff Halper speak for the first time while in Bethlehem at the December 2005 “Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance Conference” and Sharon suffered his stroke shortly there after!

Professor Halper spoke about the need to look at life as if it were a Play that we all get to claim a part in.

Halper explained, “It is not enough to speak TRUTH to power because power is deaf and doesn't care. Our aim is to end the occupation and we must see ourselves as 'actors' in this drama.

"Lot's of peace activists feel marginalized, the conflict is so huge. But throughout history civil society has stood up to those in power in solidarity and caused change to occur.”

 

Also at that Conference, Reverend Naim Ateek, spoke about how the use of state sponsored violence corrupted the true message of Christianity.

Christ’s teachings and life reflected the revolutionary concept of nonviolent action, but thousands of years of not reflecting upon that fact and that the cycle of a ‘tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye’, can never produce a just peace. Christ taught his followers that they must love and forgive their enemies; not bomb, torture or occupy any!

Before Emperor Constantine all the early Church Fathers taught that Christians should not serve in the army but instead willingly suffer rather than inflict harm on any other human being. St. Paul taught that the only way to resist evil is with good. Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence contradicts Christianity.

100 years after Constantine all Roman soldiers were baptized Christian.

Augustine was the first Church Father to speak about a “Just War” which negated the true teaching of Christ to ‘justify’ state warfare.

Reverend Ateek is also a 1948 Palestinian refugee and the founder and director of SABEEL Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem.

SABEEL’s bottom line is that one cannot honestly call oneself a Christian unless one lives and promotes nonviolence.

Rev. Ateek concluded, “The God of war, violence, oppression and terror must be rejected. Authentic Christianity is nonviolent and is all about peace, justice and liberation.”

 

Following Ateek, Dr. Mohammed Abu-Nimer from the Salam Institute of Peace and Justice said, “All the Abrahamic traditions are based in nonviolence, it is our lenses that determine whether we see it.

"Like Christianity the concept of a Just War took root and developed after lots of discussions dealing with how to deal with believers and nonbelievers.

“The first twelve years Mohammed spent in Mecca he practiced nonviolent resistance. He was persecuted but always prayed: ‘God forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.’

“Mohammed taught against the killing of innocents, the desecration of the environment and for the humane treatment and respect towards one’s enemies. Suicide bombings are not justified and those who try to justify it negate the early principals and teachings [which include]: nonviolence, the pursuit of justice, doing good, universality and human dignity, equality, that all life is sacred, be forgiving and be a peace making, practice patience, and about personal responsibility.

“We are quick to blame the external factors such as colonialism, war, humiliation, Zionism and economic dependency. But what we lack is looking internally for we Muslims love authority, bureaucracy, loyalty and our core government system is based on nepotism not ability. There is corruption, co-optation of religious leaders, the patriarchal structure and hierarchy, the authoritarian control system, and the tribal mentality.

“We are not raised in our culture to question authority and if you engage in nonviolence you must resist authority. Our first step is to challenge our own presumptions...We have 5,000 sayings attributed to Mohammed and 700 authentically traced. The politicalization of his teachings began the corruption of his teachings.

“Every Muslim child is exposed to positive values as well as interpretations that are narrow and exclusive. An example is: ‘We are the best nation that God sent to people.’ If we truly follow the ideals of Islam, we are, but reality is that the ideals have been corrupted by wrong actions.

“Many interpret the saying: ‘Support your brother if he is just, right or wrong’ to mean you must be loyal regardless of his actions and don’t ask questions. The true way to support one’s brother [or tribe] is to point out the error of his [their] ways; to explain to him why he is wrong, to correct but not fight.”

St. Paul expressed the same sentiment: “Do not judge the nonbeliever, but provoke one another to good works.”

Dr. Abu-Nimer concluded, “That Islam was revolutionary at its time but it went backwards. There is no lack of values the lack is in interpretation. As Reverend Ateek said Christians need to reclaim the authentic message of Christ, so must Islam reclaim what Mohammed put down. It is a myth to believe that the conflict between Israel Palestine can be fixed by secular methods.”

 

But, secular methods-such as books and films can –and are-playing a part in helping to end the conflict; for education is the way to compassion and compassion is the way to real change.

Two documentaries for this years Oscars: “The Gatekeepers” and “5 Broken Cameras” are playing a major role in educating the world regarding Israel’s Occupation of Palestine.

If all goes as planned, two weeks from now, I will NOT be having knee surgery, but I will play a role in educating some Hollywood insiders regarding Israel’s Occupation of Palestine from the point of view of an American who was inspired by Jeff Halper to “play a part” in the pursuit of justice for Palestine.

LEARN MORE:

Israel’s Gatekeepers and Nuclear Whistle Blower

America’s Part in “5 Broken Cameras”

 

My Life as a Candidate of Conscience for US HOUSE 2012

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