May 8, 2002
The following article was written for THE HAWAIIAN CHURCH CHRONICLE; and is expected to appear in the June Issue.  The author was planning to participate in the Journalists' Trip to the Middle East that now has been rescheduled for October.
 

by Willis H A Moore

JAN-KEN-PO / STONE-SCISSORS-PAPER describes the Israeli-Palestinian situation; and a Conference held at the Church Center, UN Plaza, New York City in mid-April sought to address, "What gets said about the Holy Land today and who says it?"

The "STONE" is clearly Israel, armed to the teeth as the world's fourth-largest army (by USA largesse), trying to smash "SCISSORS" (The Palestinians). Under the guise of rooting out terrorism, the Israeli "Defense" Forces have destroyed Palestinian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and other infra-structure in a clear design to demoralize (break) the Palestinians and disabuse them of hope for a true State.

"SCISSORS" cannot break the "STONE," but they cut "PAPER"---the fabric of both Israeli and Palestinian civilization and economy in the Holy Land. Blowing up innocents along with protestors is not acceptable behaviour; but neither should be Israeli belligerance and continued occupation and abuse of land and water delineated by UN Resolutions as belonging to Palestine.

The true horror in this scenario is that "PAPER" can cover "STONES," and a possible outcome, provoked by both sides, will "cover" (eliminate) civilization and society in the Land of Abraham!

"MEGAPHONES & MUFFLED VOICES; What Constitutes Full and Fair Media Coverage of Israeli-Palestinian Issues?" was a Conference sponsored by the National Council of Churches, USA, and the World Association for Christian Communication, London. An attempted balance of speakers from Israel and the Israeli point of view with those from Palestine and a Palestinian/Arab point of view was compromised by Israeli refusal to allow Dr Mitri Raheb to travel. Benny Avni, "Kol Israel Radio," Akiba Cohen, "Tel Aviv University," and Alan Abbey, "Jerusalem Post," pointed to continued justification of Israeli actions to "control terrorism." They clearly felt the USA backs Israel to the fullest. In point of fact Benyamin Netanyahu had just completed a rally-appearance in Washington, DC, prior to the UN Conference; and Ariel Sharon moves freely in the highest levels of the USA Government.

Haroon Siddiqui, "Toronto Star," bluntly told some 80 conferees that the "dumbing" of USA media to the level of "Fox" was a tragedy. Siddiqui and Dr Ahmed Bouzid, "Palestine Media Watch," stressed that too many American news stories are written from handouts provided by Israeli Embassy and news sources. John Zakarian, "Hartford Courant," urged the Conference participants to design a "Code of Ethics" for use by those writing about the Israel/Palestine conflict.

A communication from Dr Mitri Raheb, Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, whom the Israelis had prevented from travelling, made two points: President Bush is the "main hostage"....hostage to AIPAC (America-Israel Political Action Committee), and a strange alliance with conservative/fundamentalist Christians in unquestioned support of Israel and its Government. Raheb called Sharon a "hope-cider." a hope killer...determined to erase hope on the part of Palestinians.

Earlier in 2002, ECUSA Peace and Justice Ministries, The Rev Brian Grieves, Director, released a new videomovie, "Voices from the Holy Land," trying to bring a balanced perspective to some of the people and faces in the region. A copy of this video is available for borrowing from Hawai'i Geographic Society.
 

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Willis H A Moore is Adjunct Faculty in History, Chaminade University, and organist for St Luke's and St Paul's.