Statement of the Bethlehem Institute of Peace and Justice
Bethlehem Bible College
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
The Palestinian people are suffering.
Children are arrested and held without charges before being tried in military courts. Daily, radical Israeli settlers attack Palestinian farmers to force them off their land.
If these were rare, isolated incidents against innocent Palestinians, one might be able to write them off as random acts of a few ‘bad apples.’ Such attacks, though, are regular and pervasive. Coupled with the restrictions on Palestinians’ right to travel, the seizure of the natural resources on Palestinian land, and the steady drumbeat of the destruction of Palestinian homes, among other things, the only conclusion one can form is that Israel is mounting an increasingly intentional, oppressive assault on the Palestinian community.
Isaiah, the Hebrew prophet, spoke of Israel’s utter moral decay in the 8th century BCE:
From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate . . . (Isaiah 1.5-6).
Like the prophet, those who love Israel today must take a clear, prophetic look at its present condition and the effect of its oppressive policies on the Palestinian community.
Concerning Palestinian suffering, as Paul, the apostle, wrote, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 1. 26). When people are being brutalized, how should the world respond? To stand in solidarity with people is to feel their suffering and hear their voices. It is to empathize with the injured community and walk by its side to advocate for justice and peace.
On this forty-fourth observance of the United Nations-organized International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we at the Bethlehem Institute of Peace and Justice (www.bipj.org) at Bethlehem Bible College (www.bethbc.edu) urge all nations to stand with the Palestinian community by calling for justice, peace, and security for Palestine. Justice for Palestine will mean blessing for Israel, not its loss, for as Solomon adjured, “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (Proverbs 22.29).
An essential way for the people to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people is to “come and see.” Visit Ramallah, Nablus, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron, not on a packaged tour, but taking time to have meals with families, talk to shop owners, visit schools, and pick up olives in Palestinian fields. You will find warm-hearted, hospitable people.
Palestinians are suffering.
Let us not let them suffer alone.