Christian Peacemaker Teams: beyond belief

What more can I say about the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) (see: The asymmetry of the conflict)? They are certainly not interested in peace, unless it’s the peace of the grave for Israel — and you can decide for yourselves in a moment if ‘Christian’ is an appropriate adjective.

A few weeks ago, a pair of terrorists infiltrated a kibbutz and tried to kill Jews. The Jews fought back and killed the terrorists. I wrote then about the way the incident was reported, as though the Palestinians were minding their business when they were attacked by ‘settlers’ (see: Reuters inverts reality).

But the Reuters approach does not come close to that of CPT. The following email appeared on the CPT listserve. It appears to be genuine, although nothing would make me happier than if CPT insists that it was written by a provocateur! All emphasis is mine.

—– Original Message —–
From: cpt hebron

To: Yahoo

Sent: Friday, February 01, 2008 10:50 PM
Subject: [cpthebron] Hebron:Tragedy in Beit Ummar part I

Tragedy in Beit Ummar: A closer look

By Dianne Roe

1 February 2008

I sat in the Jerusalem Hotel restaurant last Sunday and read the headline in Ha’aretz (Israeli newspaper): Yeshiva counselor who killed terrorists lives to tell the tale (by Nadav Shragai, Ha’aretz 27/01/2008). In that article Elyakim Kovatch, the counselor who shot the two intruders, used the word terrorist twelve times to refer to the young men he killed.

What do you call people who cut a fence, sneak into a kibbutz where there is a school, and try to kill teachers and students? Read the Ha’aretz article, by the way, it’s interesting.

I left the restaurant, boarded the bus for Hebron, and got off at Beit Ummar to meet the grieving families of the ones the press refers to as “terrorists.” Cousins Mahmoud (21) and Muhammed(21) Sabarnah had entered the library of a Yeshiva at Gush Etzion settlement adjacent to Beit Ummar late evening 24 January and, according to Kovatch, wielded a knife and a handgun, and ordered those in the library to go up against the wall. Another counselor, Rafael Singer, threatened with a gun and the Sabarnah cousins wrestled with Singer, stabbing him. Kovatch then shot and killed the cousins. No Israeli was seriously wounded.

What would have happened if they had not been killed? How many students and teachers would have been slaughtered?

I recognized Mahmoud Sabarnah’s mother when she rose to greet me at the calling hours, eyes filled with tears. The last time I saw her she was smiling and dancing at the wedding of one of Mahmoud’s cousins. I thought of how I first met members of the extended Sabarnah family in the summer of 1997 when the Israeli military issued demolition orders on their homes. Bypass road #60, built on Palestinian land to connect the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, does not bypass Beit Ummar; it goes right through heavily populated areas.

For a discussion of who owns the land in Gush Etzion, see: History of Gush Etzion and Kfar Etzion Massacre. Rt. 60 connects Gush Etzion with Jerusalem. It was necessary to build a special wall alongside it to prevent shooting attacks on Israeli traffic.

I remember that in 2000 and 2001 I met many of the Sabarnah neighbors, also grieving for their children. Israeli soldiers killed many along road #60 in the early months of the second intifada for the crime of living and walking near road #60.

I remember going with members of the Sabarnah family and other Beit Ummar farmers a few years ago when the Israeli military announced they were placing a security zone around Karme Tsur settlement, in effect more then doubling the size of Karme Tsur, and taking in the plums, grapes and olives of the Beit Ummar farmers. I heard one of the farmers from the Sabarnah family cry, “The land is gone.”

I visited Mahmoud Sabarnah’s sister in 2002 after the Israeli military threatened her husband with home demolition if anyone threw stones from near their home or from the almond grove north of their home on road #60. I remember that shortly after that their six- year- old child cried when the Israeli army uprooted the almond trees.

In 2004 I stayed overnight with one of the Sabarnah families when Israeli soldiers entered their neighbor’s home, forcing the family out at gunpoint, and abducting their son, taking him off to prison.

Is this really all there is to it? More Palestinians just minding their business? Somehow I doubt it.

Christian Peacemaker Teams is against weapons, whether they are carried by soldiers or civilians. But why do newspapers refer to Palestinians as terrorists when they threaten armed settlers, and not use that term when armed soldiers enter homes and terrorize unarmed families?

Well, Reuters doesn’t. But anyone who doesn’t understand the difference between being a terrorist and arresting one is missing some brain cells.

Suppose the occupier and the occupied changed places. The headline of the event might be Head of Israeli terror group kills two Beit Ummar soldiers as they infiltrate terrorist cell. Or suppose instead of changing places they become equal neighbors, sharing the land with no wall between them and no weapons in their hands…

Jews have been trying to live in peace with Arabs in Gush Etzion since about 1923. After a while they began to understand that the Arabs were not interested in sharing anything except bullets.

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