Paper 1: Blood Brothers
4 February, 2013
1. Elias Chacour was born in 1939. In 1948, Israeli authorities made Chacour and his entire village to become refugees. He was a priest of St. George Melkite Catholic Church in Ibillin for forty-one years building the bridges for the peace between people. He is following his call to be a peacemaker through the means of educating children, youth and young adults from all religions, so they can regain dignity as people and accept each other’s differences. Since 2006, Chacour is an archbishop who oversees Melkites Catholic Church in Akko, Haifa, Nazareth, and all Galilee. He has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, 1989, and 1994. Other significant organizations have recognized Chacour’s work towards peace. He wrote two books - Blood Brothers (written in 1984 and updated in 2002) and We Belong to the Land (1990).1 2. There were several sections in the book which helped me to better understand Palestinian-Israeli conflict. After telling the story how the village of Biram was exiled, Chacour describes what was happening in political arena at that time. British government controlled the Palestine and the Zionist wanted their own unlimited control of it. Britain could not stop the Zionist because it was in bankrupt which was the consequence of WWII. Zionist took over the factories that produced ammunition for war. The compromise administered by U.N. robbed Palestinians of their lands, their homes, the peaceful lives they knew and their way of making the living. These were very unfair and unjust moves toppled by the “cleansing” performed by Zionist. I see all the rights for Palestinians to be angry with Zionist and fight against them.
Later, in the beginning of chapter eight, Chacour gives a two perspectives regarding what was happening after WWII in Palestine – one perspective as the world knew it and another perspective as it was really true. Palestine was represented as an uninhabited land for Jewish people to get rest and that surrounding Arab countries were angry, thus Israeli had to fight the War of Independence in 1948. In Switzerland, in the year of 1897, the writer Theodor Herzl fathered Zionism that sought to help disadvantages and oppressed Jews. The group of people decided for the flag, symbols, etc. of the new Jewish settlement but was split regarding location. Herzl was a strong proponent to set the location in Palestine. They knew that this country had borders, established governance and generations from ancient times that were living there. Chacour says that religious Jews thought of Zionism as blasphemy and they said that for elite and non-religious Jews “Zionism was the only Messiah Israel would ever have”. For earthly minds the way to salvation seems to be though military involvement – oppressed Jews in 1st century expected Messiah to be a military leader to free Jews from Rome’s oppression. Chacour continues to explain how Zionism joined Restorationist who believed that by reestablishing nation of Israel they might bring the second coming of Christ. Zionist did not want to share any equality with the people who lived in the Palestine and wanted to make Palestine predominantly Jewish. Oppressed people sought to regain peace through the same means of oppression.
Chacour explains how Zionist gained positive attitude from the Western world: West felt bad for hatred of Jews propagated by Hitler and were so focus on what was happening in Nazi government that did not pay attention to Middle East. Also, he helped me to understand that the immigrants who came to Israeli did not know much and were told that Palestinians were enemies. The reason Palestinian were seen as terrorists was because of Zionist propaganda. It was shocking to see that Zionist by this propaganda, working on world’s sympathy for their pity, raised money and were very aggressive about their plan. President Roosevelt wanted to offer Jewish people a free way to...