Pax Christi International denounces all forms of violence. Yet, it is imperative to recognise that violence and terror can take many forms and can be executed under labels which belie its true intent. Violence never happens in a vacuum.
Today, the world is watching Jerusalem—the city of peace—devolve into utter chaos with contradictory narratives vying for the headlines. Soundbites do not lend themselves to truth nor context. Indiscriminate rockets retaliate . . . bombs fill the night sky over an imprisoned people. Rocks and bottles meet stun grenades, “skunk” spray, and rubber bullets. One man loses his eyesight to an explosion thrown in his face . . . a soldier is hit in the head. Some children are terrorised by midnight raids and arrests while others recoil in fear in a bomb shelter. The cycle continues.
Yet, beneath this explosion of violence is a long history of simmering anger, resentment, and loss of hope. One people’s terror from centuries of discrimination and unthinkable atrocities results in another people’s brutal subjugation under military occupation, and the incremental efforts to erase their presence in their homeland.
We cry for the pain of families who have lived with expulsion from their homes and threats of reliving the ongoing nightmare of displacement. We mourn with families who have lost loved ones to terror. We tremble in horror as young children witness destruction, death, and the degrading humiliation of being powerless. We pray that hardened hearts, instead of heads and bodies, be cracked open and willing to see the other as a beloved child of God.
Sadly, this is far from the first explosion of violence to rack this Holy Land. Every individual act of provocation and retaliation is met with another round of the same . . . often escalating to a moment of crisis as we see today.
Pax Christi International stands with the people who brazenly demand justice, all the more if they are caught up in an asymmetric conflict in so many ways. We recommit ourselves to supporting all forms of nonviolent resistance and plead that the international community, instead of blaming, recognise and lift-up the truth of each side’s transgressions and longings.
We embolden the peacebuilders to never allow the provocateurs of distrust and hatred nor the perpetrators of violence to chip away at their holy and rightful mission. Peace may be elusive; it might hide from view, yet we hold on to a solitary truth that if truly desired it is not impossible.