by Conference Minister Diane Weible
On Good Friday, March 30, 17 civilians in Gaza were killed by Israeli soldiers and 1400 more were injured. The reason? They were participating in a nonviolent protest to recognize “Land Day”, a day to claim their right to return to the land that was once theirs. Gaza is known by many as an open-air prison and it is said that 70% of the people who live there were forced into this small piece of land in 1948 after their homes in what is now Israel were taken from them. In my visit there last year, I was told about the horrific conditions the people of Gaza are living in—not sure where or when they will receive fresh water, electricity that is turned on for just a short time each day and strict rules preventing them from leaving, even for necessities such as medical care.
The world watched in dismay as reports surfaced about violence directed at people who barely have food to eat much less any real way to defend themselves from their attackers.
But this wasn’t something that was limited to this one day, March 30. The peaceful protests have continued. So has the violence. Last week in a 3rd Thursday Action report put out by Global Ministries, church leaders called on all of us to respond by asking Congress to support human rights and hold Israel accountable. https://www.globalministries.org/3rd_thursday_action_alert_tell_congress_to_support_human_rights_hold_israel_accountable
The right to protest and to speak up and out for ourselves and for others is something we hold dear in this country. And, we believe that all humans should have that same right. To be attacked for speaking against oppression and claiming the right to the basics in life—home, food and water—is hard to comprehend. It should offend us at our deepest core. I hope and pray we all find the courage to speak up for those who are trying to speak up for themselves and being attacked because of it.