Elias Bejjani/As a Christian, how can I empathize with the Palestinian cause after it has been Islamized and embraced by Jihadist countries and organizations?

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As a Christian, how can I empathize with the Palestinian cause after it has been Islamized and embraced by Jihadist countries and organizations?
Elias Bejjani/October 30/2023

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخاطرة التي في أسفل باللغة العربية/Click here to read the below piece in Arabic

As a Lebanese Christian, and even Palestinian Christian, how can I empathize with and support those who call for the liberation of Palestine, including the throwing of Jews into the sea and the eradication of the state of Israel, especially when most countries, groups, and organizations that pursue this mission are Islamic Jihadists?

For example, Hezbollah’s name is the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, and Hamas is known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, and all the organizations claiming to be part of the resistance and aiming to liberate Palestine adhere to Jihadist concepts, cultures, and practices, as do states like the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The most dangerous curse that hit the Palestinian cause is its Islamization and the transformation of the conflict into a Jihadist war against Jews and the throwing of Israel into the sea.

Amid the current political and ideological debate about the Palestinian issue, and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as the destructive war and devastation in Gaza, important questions are raised: How can a Lebanese Christian, or anyone who is Christian, including Palestinian Christians, sympathize with and support those who call for the liberation of Palestine through Jihadist means, including actions such as throwing Jews into the sea, and the elimination of the state of Israel? Especially when most countries, led by Iran, and all groups and organizations opposing Israel embrace Islamic Jihadist concepts and goals?

Answers depend on personal values and beliefs, and may vary from one person to another. However, it is essential to carefully consider the deadly and destructive consequences that have arisen due to the transformation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a Jihadist war against Jews.

The Islamization of the Palestinian cause, and its transformation into a Jihadist Islamic war has largely been rejected by the majority of countries and people worldwide, causing it to lose sympathy and support from those who are not Jihadists, whether they are states or organizations.

To correct the course of the Palestinian dilemma and return it to a national cause, rather than a religious one, the following steps are required:

First, we must recognize that there is a significant difference between supporting the rights of Palestinians and working towards a peaceful and just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and promoting violence and Jihad against Jews. Aligning with groups that embrace Jihad can be dangerous for the people of the Middle East and regional security. In this context, we need to acknowledge the facts and understand that movements and states like Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and all their likes have brought destruction, chaos, and conflicts to many countries, (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria etc), exacerbating the problem rather than reaching a permanent and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue.

Second, everyone, particularly the Palestinian people, must contemplate the positive effects of mutual cooperation and constructive dialogue among religions and cultures, rather than supporting Jihad and violence. Christians, Muslims, Jews, and people of other faiths can work together to achieve peace, tolerance, and coexistence in the Middle East and specifically, address the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In conclusion, the Palestinian cause includes legitimate rights for the Palestinians, and there are peaceful, civilized, and national ways to reach a permanent solution. Islamizing it as it stands today will not lead to solutions, neither today nor any other day.

Cooperation, dialogue, and accepting others are the keys to its success and finding peaceful solutions, which is why local, regional, and international stakeholders must earnestly seek ways to support efforts aimed at peace and justice in the region, rather than endorsing Islamic and jihadist violence, destruction, death, and devastation.

*Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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