Gaza, Israel and Palestine – Catholic social teaching has answers ?

22, Jun 2024 | Europe of Values, Geopolitische Herausforderungen

“What should Catholics think about Gaza, Israel and Palestine? Catholic social teaching has answers.” – So one could agree, but unfortunately the joint article by Julie Schumacher Cohen and Jordan Denari Duffner in AMERICA, the Jesuit publication in the US, does not live up to its claim. –

The history of Jesus’ homeland has been very eventful since Joshua crossed the Jordan. There were many conquests and occupations and colonizations, which Jesus of Nazareth also had to suffer. – The fact that a high-ranking Catholic cleric in the West Bank claims in an interview that Jesus, the Lord, was Palestinian is of the same intolerable intellectual quality as the mob riots at former American elite universities. –

We in Europe, with the experience of historical falsification between 1933-1945 and now again with the imperialist Russian invasion of Ukraine, have painfully learned to scrutinize sources and historical facts. – The two authors have omitted this academically clean analysis.

Information that is particularly important for us Catholics has been neglected: the rape and gang rape of Israeli women on 7 October 2023 and since then in hostage-taking by the Hamas terrorists has been documented and, after weeks of hesitation, also recognized by the UN. The two authors do not say a single word about this. –

On July 7, 2024, 9 (nine) months will have passed since the hostage-taking with rapes and gang rapes. The probability of pregnancies during hostage-taking by Hamas and other terrorist groups involved is very high among young women under the age of 40. – What does our Catholic Church say to the dilemma of young mothers when the child’s father or possible fathers have murdered the husband and other family members before the rape? The two authors say just as little about this as the signatories of the hereunder mentioned letter. The silence of the shepherds is yet another stabbing pain that we committed Catholics in Europe are suffering when it comes again to sexualised violence.

It is significant that the two authors cite the Hamas figure of 35,000 victims immediately after the figure of 1,200 Israeli victims. It is significant, but too transparent. –

The figure quoted by Hamas does not, of course, distinguish between combatants and completely uninvolved civilians (such as the victims of the bombings of Cherbourg, Hamburg, Mannheim or Dresden) on the one hand and civilians who have held hostages in their homes in return for payment by Hamas.

No distinction is made between those under the age of 18 (i.e. legally children) whether they were armed or not at the time of their unfortunate death, such as the underage members of the SS “Hitler Youth” division who caused the same ethical dilemma for the Catholic family fathers among the American troops when they landed in Normandy 80 years ago as for the Israeli family fathers in their search for the kidnapped hostages in the Gaza Strip.

Despite my criticisms, I would like to thank the two authors for their article. Only now do I understand how the intellectual lapses at American universities, which used to be held in high esteem worldwide, were possible. – However, I doubt that the claim to provide an answer from Catholic social teaching will be fulfilled – rather, the article deepens the existing rifts, because it prevents insight and remorse among those who still misuse their school textbooks to educate children to kill Jews.- TH