‘Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem…’
Last week, my colleague at CNEWA, Fr. Guido Gockel, delivered a speech in Washington that looked at the problems of the Holy Land in a striking, thought-provoking way.
When we look at the Holy Land from a political point of view, I don’t know what is happening. Recently a senator friend told me that the longer she is in politics, the less sure she is about what is true. What is true in the Holy Land? During the Palestinian Intifada, journalists sat comfortably in the American Colony Hotel reading the local papers from which they constitute their articles. Politicians are using the media for their own purposes.
However, from a biblical view I can see what’s going on. It is the battle between God and Satan, between good and evil.
I remember one weekend I came to my house in the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hanina. A young man was accosted by an Israeli special unit. He was stripped and, although there was no evidence of anything, one of the officers killed the young man with a gunshot to the head. The next day, the papers reported that another suicide bomber had been stopped. On the following Sunday, I heard a gunshot at the checkpoint that was about 100 yards from my home. An 11-year-old schoolboy had been shot. He was lying on the ground still alive when they flipped him over with a robot to check for explosives, but found none. Five hours or so later, when the boy finally died, the ambulence that had been in attendence all the while was allowed to take him away. The next day, the news reported that another suicide bomber had been stopped. It turned out the boy was deaf and mute and thus had not heard the soldier who asked him to stop.
At that point I was filled with anger. I began to read the prophet Daniel and asked myself, “who can I call to stop this nonsense, this tit-for-tat?,” only to realize that there is no one who can halt it. At that point I understood the words of St. Paul: “It is not flesh and blood that we fight, but the principalities and powers of darkness in the heavenly places.”
The battle is much bigger than the Israelis, Palestinians and the world powers. And Satan wants the Christians out of the region.