Looking at both sides of peace issues

The local Kairos committee is giving the community the opportunity to hear both sides of a complicated issue

Separation: United Church minister Juanita Austin stands before the enormous wall that divides Israel and Palestine.

The local Kairos committee is giving the community the opportunity to hear both sides of a complicated issue in “What is the Harper government’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and is it helping to promote a just peace for Israel and Palestine?”

Facilitated by Warren Bell, the event takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at  First United Church on Okanagan Avenue.

Peace processes have so-far failed, the occupation of Palestinian territories has intensified, violence and extremism continue.

The people in Gaza have experienced three wars in seven years. Rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israel continue with increasing reach.

In 2014, at least 544 children were killed: 540 Palestinian, and four Israeli.

United Nations resolutions and international law require that Israel end its 48-year occupation of the Palestinian territories and dismantle all Jewish settlements in these territories.

Kairos believes Canada should take a constructive role to promote a negotiated, just peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that ensures respect for human rights and international law.

Rev. Juanita Austin says Canada’s policy has grown to be pro-Israeli so gradually that people don’t question the political stand.

“I really want people to know the policies, how they came about, what it’s doing to the Palestinian people and be open-hearted,” she says. “We would never support any other country if it wasn’t Israel.”

Austin recalls a radio announcer talking about Israeli “soldiers” and Palestinian “militants.”

“It changes the value of a person when you put those kinds of words together; it makes them less than equal and they are certainly being treated less than equal,” Austin says, noting she visited the Middle East countries after hearing about the issues at a Naramata conference.

“Someone compared the arresting of Palestinian children as young as 12, dragging them out of bed, forcibly taking them from their homes, handcuffing them and interrogating them to what happened in Nazi Germany…” she says. “It was a slap upside the head to wake me up.”

Austin says most people are unaware the issue is tied in with the Syrian refugee crisis.

“Many of them were kicked out of Palestine when the Israelis entered the country as refugees in 1948,” she says of the Holocaust survivors. “Never again needs to mean never again for everybody.”

Austin says great care must be taken to emphasize concerns are with Israeli government policy not Jewish people, and points out peace-minded Muslims, Jews and Christians continue to work together to find justice-based peace for all people in the Middle East.

At Sunday’s event, Vancouver Rabbi David Mivasair will speak by video link, documenting the issues from an informed and engaged Jewish perspective. Rajai and Sue Ghattas of Vernon will respond from the Palestinian perspective.

Four short films on questions, prepared by the United Church of Canada, will be followed by roundtable discussion.

This will be a pre-election opportunity for concerned citizens to take a critical look at the Harper government’s policy and its implications for security in the Middle East and internationally.

The program is sponsored by the Salmon Arm Ecumenical KAIROS Committee, part of the national KAIROS organization that unites 11 Christian churches and religious organizations in faithful action for justice.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Floating concert to shake Shuswap Lake

Pair of bands booked to play floating concert at the Sea Store on Sept. 5

Video: New phase of Salmon Arm landfill progressing

Expansion expected to provide 20 years of landfill capacity

Defibrillator wanted for Salmon Arm pickleball courts

Club asks city to install unit in accessible location at Klahani Park

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Police watchdog deems Kelowna RCMP not responsible for man’s death

The man spoke to police after a car crash before leaving on foot; he was found dead six hours later

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Central Okanagan adds 3,600 jobs in July: Statistics Canada

The region’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 10 per cent in July

Most Read