What Can I Do About the Middle East?
October 9, 200
The Department of Christian Outreach has asked Betty and Mart Bailey to offer some suggestions about what people can do about the latest disturbances in the Middle East.
Almost half of the people killed in recent weeks have been under the age of 15, one as young as 2 years old.  It is important to pray for the children.

O God, we pray for the children,
 That the children may live,
 That they may have children of their own
 And that it will go on-
 This great blossoming that is meant
 To go on and on.
We pray for peace, in their name.
 That they would have a world
 Worth being born into,
 A future worth dreaming about,
And that they might become, in their own time,
 All they were meant to be
We pray for peace in their name.  Amen.
                (from Praying for Peace:Reflections on the Gulf Crisis)

God Almighty, give all the leaders in this land light and strength to do what is right and what is just.  For all we pray, for Palestinians and Israelis, for Christians, Muslims and Jews, may God inspire justice and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of all.  Amen
               (from a statement by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah)

The information we receive in our media is often very incomplete and presented in a biased way.

 Log on to these websites:
www.addameer.org  (Palestinian)
www.Gush-Shalom.org/Jerusalem (Israeli bloc of peace)
www.IPCRI.org  (Israel/Palestine Center for Research & Studies)
www.Btselm.org (Israel Center for Human Rights)
www.BirzeitU.edu/hrap (Human Rights center at BirZeit University

 The following came from reporter, Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian (London)
 A survey of Palestinian hospitals conducted by the local chapter of Physicians for Human Rights found 30% of injuries were from the stomach up, and that there was a disproportionate number of eye injuries.
 "Many people were shot with M-16, high velocity bullets that shatter on impact," Wahib Dajani, a doctor at Makassad Hospital in East Jerusalem told reporters.  "This is a weapon you use armed soldier to armed soldier, world war three, but not against civilians."
Here is an excerpt from a Christian colleague, Tom Getman, who was in Gaza on Tuesday at Netzarim junction.  (We didn't read this in the paper either, did you?)
 "As ambulances ferried the dead and wounded we spent nearly an hour in the Red Cross/Red Crescent triage center where skilled medical staff were working under the protection of the International Committee of the Red Cross to stop the bleeding before the casualties were taken to hospital operating rooms or morgues.  Most of the wounds were from American Apache helicopter gun ships or snipers.  Several people far from the onerous fortress intersection dropped to the ground from head wounds as we observed from less than 30 meters.  The only explanation is that snipers from a 1000 or more meters were picking people out of crowds from hill or roof tops like the evil shooters from Snipers Alley in Sarajevo.
 "Four of the awful gunships kept flying over th residential area spraying it with machine gun fire and directing antitank missiles at home and apartment buildings.  The guilt and shame already being felt was only increased when I discovered that the shell casings are clearly marked with serial number indicating American sources."

1. United Nations Secretary General, Kofi A. Annan, urging him to continue meeting with both sides and to press for an end to the use of excessive force. (inquiries@UN.org)
2. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, to condemn the blocking of Palestinian ambulances and medical workers and to uphold the Geneva Conventions on protection of civilians in conflict.  (webadmin.hchr@UNog.ch)
3. UN Security Council to investigate the violence and report to the General Assembly (inquiries@UN.org)
4. Mr. Barak and Mr. Arafat to end the hostilities now. (See below)
5. Pres. Bill Clinton and Dr. Madeline Albright to urge the investigation of Israel's use of U.S. made helicopter gunships against Palestinian civilians and to press for a just peace. (President@whitehouse.gov and Secretary@State.gov)
6. Mr. Barak to rescind the shoot-to-kill orders and to end the excessive violence.  (rhom@pmo.gov.il)
7. Mr. Arafat can be faxed at 011.972-7-282.2365

 Churches for Middle East Peace (of which the United Church of Christ is a part) has a Shared Jerusalem Advocacy Network urging the United States government to call upon negotiators to move beyond exclusivist claims and create a Jerusalem that is a sign of peace and a symbol of reconciliation for all human kind.  You may sign up online at cmepdc@aol.com or send you name, address, Email address, and denomination to Churches for Middle East Peace, 110 Maryland Ave., NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002,