- Oct 22, 2020
Many Palestinian Christians say U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s brand of evangelical Christianity, with its fervent embrace of modern-day Israel as fulfilment of biblical prophecy, lacks their faith’s compassion and justice, including for those who have endured half a century of Israeli occupation.
Today’s Samaritans live in two groups, separated not only by geography but culture. About 350 live under Palestinian rule on Mount Gerizim, the biblical mountain where, they say, Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. The other group took root near Tel Aviv decades ago, after war prevented Samaritans working in Israel from returning to their West Bank homes.
For parish priests in the West Bank, the challenge is to emphasize the Christian tradition of nonviolence while supporting their young parishioners’ desire to oppose the Israeli occupation. Father Aktham Hijazin of the Annunciation Parish in Beit Jala, said, as Catholics “They are not interested to take part in any violent act.”
Priests living in the West Bank emphasized that the challenge is to emphasize the Christian tradition of nonviolence while supporting their young parishioners’ desire to oppose the Israeli occupation. The priests agreed that violent confrontation is not acceptable in order to achieve peace in the area.
The chair of a USCCB committee has written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him not to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and to oppose Israel’s settlement expansion plan. On the same day, the White House issued a statement saying expansion “may not be helpful” to peace efforts.
In one of the tensest and most violence-prone corners of the world, the tiny Samaritan minority in the West Bank manages to create a zone of peace where both Israelis and Palestinians feel safe, in a tradition of compassion and understanding that stretches back to the Bible.