A Press Release Distribution Service from Religion News Service
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2007
Contact: Sr. Ruth Lautt, National Director
New York, New York
Fair Witness Questions CMEP'S Response To Carnage In Gaza
Christians For Fair Witness on the Middle East questions the response from Churches for Middle East Peace to last week's bloody siege in Gaza. As the world witnessed shocking levels of Palestinian on Palestinian violence and an atmosphere of terror spread over the Gaza Strip, CMEP posted a brief statement from the "heads of churches in Jerusalem" referring to the "40th Anniversary of the Occupation" and calling for an end to "domestic fighting" and "an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its Capital."
"Over one hundred Palestinians were killed and hundreds maimed in virulent confrontations between Hamas and Fatah," said Sr. Ruth Lautt. "People were thrown off rooftops. Children witnessed the slaughter of their parents. Corpses were dragged triumphantly through refugee camps. Although Fatah and Hamas leaders and members of the security forces were the primary targets, many civilians were caught in the crossfire and relatives of Fatah and Hamas operatives were deliberately killed in mutual assassination attempts. One would reasonably expect those who routinely complain about Israeli military actions to condemn Hamas with equal fervor."
"The statement posted by CMEP seemed designed to convey a belief that the siege in Gaza was a mere diversion from fighting the 'occupation,'" says Fair Witness Executive Committee member Dexter Van Zile. "There was a civil war. Hamas and Fatah militants were being more violent than ever. Mutual kidnappings and field executions were reported. Gunmen stormed hospitals and forced medical crews out, shooting at doctors in operating rooms and patient wards."
"The ordinary Palestinian watches his dream of statehood go up in smoke as their leaders execute each other." continued Van Zile. "We believe it is irresponsible for Christian voices in the U.S. to be silent on the extent of this brutality while seeming to attempt to focus attention on Israel."
"Also troubling was CMEP's renewed call for "Jerusalem as . . . [a] Palestinian . . . Capital," as though this is germane, adds Rev. Dr. Archer Summers, Senior Minister in the First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto, California. "The Palestinians must have their own state and determine their own future. But until their leadership shows both the ability to govern and the will to live in peace even amongst themselves, our churches must refrain from unbalanced, oversimplification of this issue."
Sr. Ruth Lautt, OP, Esq.
Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East
475 Riverside Drive, Ste 1960
New York, NY 10115
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