Edward McGlynn Gaffney Jr.April 13, 2005 - 7:05am0 comments
Witnessing to Peace
In Jerusalem and the World
Fortress Press, $16, 169 pp.
Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble
Fortress Press, $17, 157 pp.
Can peace break out in the Holy Land? “The first thing to do is to stop the killing,” as former Senator George Mitchell put it, assessing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So the recent ceasefire is welcome news, at least a step in the right direction-even if spoilers in both communities still want to see this moment wrecked by violence or bullying rhetoric. Real peace is more complicated, as Augustine explained: peace is not the absence of hostility, but the presence of justice.
Neither Munib Younan nor Mitri Raheb addresses the details of the current peace prospects in the post-Arafat world. But for anyone who hopes for an end to the region’s tragic violence, Witnessing to Peace and Bethlehem Besieged are not to be missed.
Younan is the Lutheran bishop of Jerusalem. His book starts with a bang: the eruption of the Second Intifada in September 2000. As gunfire interrupts the annual board meeting of the Victoria Augusta Hospital atop the Mount of Olives, the bishop looks out to see Israeli soldiers atop the hospital’s perimeter wall. “How dare they turn this place of healing into a place of murder and mayhem? How dare they violate the sanctity and trust of a church-owned hospital?” Younan writes, recounting his immediate response. Yet his flash of anger yields to words associated with the site itself: “You will be my witnesses beginning in Jerusalem...and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:18). In this...