LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The fighting has to end

Published 8:49 am Friday, April 5, 2024

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As an American citizen and a person of faith, I am grieved, horrified and angry about the devastation unfolding in Gaza and the West Bank.
In its January ruling, the International Court of Justice found that there was “plausible evidence” that what is happening there is a genocide. I join those who condemn the brutal attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, but I also condemn the level of atrocity that has characterized Israeli reprisals since then.
Why should residents of rural Stanly County care about this issue?
As Americans, we have a duty to care about the effects that decisions made by our lawmakers have on people around the world. As people of faith, we believe that all people are made in the image of a loving God which compels us to ensure their well-being.
I have visited Israel and Palestine three times, have shared the hospitality of Palestinian homes, worshipped alongside Palestinian Christians and heard their stories about life under Israel’s military occupation. They face checkpoints, road closures, home demolitions and the constant presence of Israeli soldiers who can enter homes at any time and detain anyone without due cause. Since Oct. 7, the West Bank has been in lockdown which has devastated the economy; vigilantism by Israeli settlers terrorizes school children and nearly 400 have been killed. Recently, many Palestinian Christians were denied access to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter.
In Gaza, over 32,000 have been killed, including 13,000 children; millions have been displaced, civilian infrastructure is destroyed. Disease is rampant, medical care is almost nonexistent and Israel severely restricts the delivery of food and other humanitarian assistance resulting in widespread starvation and famine.
I share these stories because Americans who follow traditional news outlets rarely read about them. While the vicious October attack by Hamas cannot be justified, the reality of 56 years of harsh occupation provides a context which likely led to it. A knowledge of the modern history of this region is necessary to help Americans develop a more balanced perspective on the current conflict.
In North Carolina, Carrboro and Durham have joined over 100 towns and cities across the country to pass resolutions urging the president and Congress to call for: an immediate ceasefire in Gaza; the release of all hostages and political prisoners and the immediate entry of sufficient humanitarian aid into Gaza.
Some resolutions have also called for the cessation of military assistance to Israel. These are important concerns that we in Stanly County can raise with our lawmakers.
Framing this issue from a biblical perspective, it should be remembered that this land belongs to God (Ps 24:1; Deut. 4:1), not to any one ethnic or religious group; the land must be shared. No biblical interpretation justifies the cruelty that Israel, with aid from U.S. taxpayers, is employing against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
For those who care about the well-being of the Israeli people, only peace with justice for Palestinians will ensure Israel’s security; bombing and genocide will not.

Anne Lipe