Monday, May 17, 2021 7:09 am
By Steve Aborisade
I see a lot of ignorance on display by people looking at the Israeli- Palestinian face off from the prism of Christianity and Islam. I know for a fact that some Israelis are not in support of the bombardment of Gaza, just as there are Palestinians who don’t support Hamas shooting missiles into Israel. Several people want peace, they want peaceful coexistence and, rightly so.
So many interventions exist towards this goal led by both Israelis and Palestinians. But several people here seem to erroneously make enemies of either side based on their faith.
To be sure, majority of Israelis aren’t Christians. They don’t believe in Christ the way we do here. Strikingly, I realised there is perhaps more Christian Arabs in Israel than Jewish Christians. So, don’t make enemies of Palestinians because you are Christian. We should hope there is peace in that land and consider the victims on both sides of the divides, especially children.
Stop taking sides, condemn the violence at both ends:
There is no right or wrong party in this conflict. It predates this civilisation, while I don’t see it ending soon because of its very many complexities (religion, history and ideologies). It is why as outsiders it is futile to take sides.
For instance, let us look at the Dome of the Rock, one of Islam’s holiest sites in Jerusalem, which also has strong Jewish connection. Prophet Muhammed, founder of Islam, is traditionally believed to have ascended into heaven from that site. However, in Jewish tradition, it is here that Abraham, the progenitor and first patriarch of the Hebrew people, is said to have prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac to God.
Within an eye distance from the Dome of the Rock, is the Wailing wall, the only remains of the retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem, held to be uniquely holy by the ancient Jews and which many also believed is the site of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Nigerians on pilgrimage are familiar with this place. So such is the intertwined interests and history, with the tension that modernity brings and now scarcity of land for settlements and the demand of maintaining sovereignty, that I am not sure we qualify to judge based on the scanty information we have at our disposal.
We can talk about the might of each nation and the impact on helpless citizens, especially children, but then, these are prone to which sides you are eager to listen to and believe – there are arguments from both sides! I pray for peace for this land, for Palestinians and for Israelis.
-Steve Aborisade is a public affairs analyst