PALESTINE LETTER: “It takes love to fight an Occupation”

CPTnet

14 December 2011

PALESTINE LETTER: “It takes love to fight an Occupation”

[The following letter comes from Tarek Abuata, CPT’s Palestine Project Support Coordinator.]

Jesus’s message is to love your neighbor and love your enemy. Jean Zaru asks in her book, “What if your neighbor is your enemy?” Love doesn’t cancel love; we have to love our neighbors twice as much in this case!

One of CPT’s daily tasks is to patrol the streets of al-Khalil (Hebron) for school children entering the old city. Children as young as 6 years old have to go through a container (trailer-checkpoint), pass under metal detectors, have bags searched by soldiers, and sometimes get patted down. We patrol to lessen the harassment of these children.

I just came back from Palestine a couple of weeks ago.

One day after my friend and I finished patrolling for an hour absolutely exhausted, we ran into a settler who spit in our faces, and called us Nazis for helping these terrorist children. Do you think I thought “It takes love to fight an Occupation”? No, no! At that moment I said to myself “I would like to slap him”!

A few days later, six 5-year old Palestinian children were detained by six Israeli soldiers for playing with toy guns on Eid. Looking at the scene I actually softened. I stood back wondering which kids are getting abused more, those 5 year olds with toy guns or those 18 year olds with real guns? I could only feel compassion for all involved, including myself.  

On several occasions I’ve experienced getting beaten by Israeli soldiers, and I’ve experienced the ugliness of the Israeli Occupation on a very deep level. As a privileged Palestinian, I know that I have truly experienced only 30% of what other Palestinians my age living in Palestine experience. Nevertheless, I know that more love works.

Why? Not only because Jesus said so, but because Jesus taught us what works. You don’t have to be Christian to be a follower of Jesus. In fact many Christians are not followers of Jesus.

I know more love works because I have experienced both settlers and Israeli soldiers who were transformed through the love energy we faced their hatred with.

You see I learned that with love, we become a mirror to someone’s actions. Jesus asked us to turn our cheek, not our eyes. I look into a soldier’s eyes directly for him to see my soul through my eyes, and in the process, he sees his own soul through that mirror, connecting us at a profound level that can’t be verbalized, and waking us both out of our societal self-inflicted nightmares.

I also know that love works because I have also felt deep unnatural ugliness when I had responded back with hatred towards a soldier. In those moments, I had allowed hatred to imprison me into the shackles of a never-ending spiral of destruction. 

In this Christmas season, can you support the work of the Palestine team as we look into the eyes of Israeli soldiers and stand with Palestinian peacemakers? Please consider a gift via our website: http://www.cpt.org/participate/donate or by mail.

Sincerely,

Tarek Abuata

Palestine Project Support Coordinator