Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East questions America Magazine’s assertions regarding Israel and Gaza. []

Subject: Fair Witness Press Release/Fair Witness Questions America Magazine “Current Comment” on Gaza


January 12, 2009

Contact: Christians For Fair Witness on the Middle East (212) 870-2320

Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East questions America Magazine’s assertions regarding Israel and Gaza.

In “Current Comment” (January 19, 2009) the editors refer to the “quagmire” Israel finds itself in in Gaza, and then by omission of key facts and reference to hopeful but wholly unrealistic prognostications, lay the blame for this “quagmire” on Israel. “Following Yasser Arafat’s refusal to negotiate a two-state solution in late 2000, Palestinian terror escalated to a shocking level,” notes Rev. Dr. Archer Summers, Senior Minister in the First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto California. “Suicide bombing came mostly from the West Bank and Qassam rockets, mortars and grad missiles from Gaza. Israel ended its occupation of Gaza in 2005, hoping that promise of Palestinian autonomy would end the rocket attacks. It did not. Instead of focusing on building up some national infrastructure, Hamas launched thousands of rockets into Israel. This instigated very severe Israeli restrictions employed in an attempt to protect its citizens under fire.” “Where might the Palestinians in Gaza be today, if instead of digging infiltration tunnels, stockpiling weapons and lobbing rockets at Israel for the last three years, their leadership had channeled its energy into the beginning of some serious state building”? asks Rev. Dr. Roy Howard, pastor of Saint Mark Presbyterian Church (USA) in Rockville, Maryland. “If that had been the case, then the editors at America would have some basis for the Israeli ‘whip hand’ they complain of.” “While the severity of Israeli restrictions can be reasonably debated, America’s assessment that Hamas would magically ‘wither’ if Israel chose to ‘relinquish[ ] the upper hand over Palestinian life’ defies the political realities,” says Rev. James Loughran, S.A., Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute. “Hamas has made clear that it has not even a pretense of interest in a two-state solution or living in peace with Israel.” “As a leading and respected Jesuit publication, America has an obligation to provide accurate and complete information,” says Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, former Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Failing to acknowledge that in Hamas, Israel has a violent neighbor sworn to its destruction is to fail to present the full story of what is actually taking place and therefore to set it in adequate perspective.”

Christians for
Fair Witness
on the Middle East
c/o Sr. Ruth Lautt

475 Riverside Drive
Suite 1960
New York, New York


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