John Paul II Foundation / Magazine / The Holy Land is burning! Please stop this inferno

The Holy Land is burning! Please stop this hell.


In the darkest days of the latest war between Hamas and Israel, Brother Ibrahim Faltas, ZXZXZX of the John Paul II Foundation, issued this call for ceasefire and reconciliation. We publish it as a crucial testimony to the drama of those days. 

Since the clashes began in Jerusalem, at the Damascus Gate and the Esplanade of Mosques, protest and violence have been rampant among the population, to the point of having more than 200 outbreaks of rioting in towns and villages across the country. We are helplessly witnessing unprecedented man-on-man violence, violence that is exploding with all the anger on both sides, young Israelis and young Arabs, perhaps inherited from the great failure of the resolutions implemented in 1967, and the indifference of the international community to the idea of finding a solution for the conflict between Israel and Palestine. We are on the verge of civil war.

In recent days I have been contacted for some interviews, and from the news reports I hear on the television news, there is often a lack of knowledge about the territory and the people living there. Yet another conflict has broken out in the Middle East with all the violence of the bombing between Gaza and Israel, where we watch helplessly the destruction of homes, of families forced to abandon everything, of so many wounded and dead on both sides, and at the same time a war of words and news breaks out, which impacts just as severely on the lives of the people who live this tragedy.

To understand the Middle East, and what is happening, one must have a knowledge of local history. In Israel, for example, along with Israeli citizens and settlers, who may be Jewish or secular, live the Israeli Arabs of 1948, who may be Christian or Muslim, but are all Israeli citizens with Israeli passports. In the West Bank live the Palestinians, they can be Christians or Muslims, and they have a Palestinian passport. In Jerusalem, in addition to Israeli citizens, live the Palestinians who have no passports at all: they may have a Jerusalem ID card if they are 1967 Arabs, or a pass. This is the mosaic of a population living in the same territory but not enjoying the same rights.

What is happening in Haifa, Nazareth, Ramle, Lod, Cana, Askelon, and Tel Aviv in Israel, and in Nablus, Bethlehem, Jenin, Bethany, Hebron in Palestine, and so many other cities? A real guerrilla warfare broke out, a Hell! Burned cars, lynchings, burning of homes, synagogues, places of worship, throwing rocks at passing cars, with many dead and seriously injured. A real war between Jewish settlers and Israeli Arabs in Israeli cities, and the same is happening in the occupied areas of the West Bank. The street has become the scene of a war of sticks and stones, while we are informed in detail about the war strategies between Hamas and Israel, which have already claimed many lives. There is no realization of the danger the country is in. People are afraid to leave their homes, for fear of violence, because if you are an Arab or if you are a Jew, you also risk death! This is not just a war only between Israel and Hamas, as it was in previous Intifadas between Israel and the West Bank, where the parties could decide to cease fire and come to an agreement. Here we are facing an angry population, on both sides, that is trying to take justice for itself, and where there is no interlocutor. 

I appeal to all heads of state to work to bring an end to the fire between Hamas and Israel, and push for swift action to restore order to the streets and the population now challenged by long years of conflict. Violence begets violence, we all must stop it!

By Br. Ibrahim Faltas ofm - Jerusalem May 14, 2021


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