A healthy debate with a Pastor on the Middle East crisis

I thought you all might enjoy a healthy debate between myself and a pastor in central Missouri. Pastor Tim sent an article about doctored photos in Lebanon that falsify civilian casualties. I thought the article was a bit one-sided so I wrote him an e-mail. Below is the correspondance that took place.

Hello Pastor Tim,

Thank you for your e-mail about doctored photos. I
don’t mean to be contentious here, but does this
really change anything? If you look at “Kevin’s sites
in the Hot Zone” at Yahoo.com you will see that,
despite some misinformation in the media, many
civilians were actually targeted in Lebanon. I’m not
taking sides here. I just think that Christians
should be objective in evaluating the suffering on
both sides of the conflict.

Blessings to you and your ministry.

Aaron

Aaron,

Thanks for the dialogue. It is so hard to get all the points that need
to
be said into a 30 sentence article. 🙂

I like to share my article with as many contacts as possible, but, of
course, it is written for the general secular public in a secular
newspaper.
The reason for this article was to point out the doctored photo by Mr.
Hajj
and several other unethical journalistic snafoos concerning the Lebanon
crisis. I find many people are not aware of how biased their news can
be
coming from CNN, New York Times, Reuters and others and are just simply
not
informed about some of these facts.

Of course we are hurting for Lebanon as a country. This conflict has
destroyed much of what they worked for for the last 25 years. And, of
course, there are deaths of innocent civilians. Many are just
innocents
caught in the middle of something they don’t want to be part of.

And you are right. While in the secular world, people tend to be hard
on
Israel because of what they hear in the media, people in the church
world
are a little overboard in their Zionism. The Israeli troops, like all
troops, are not always innocent in their conduct of war. But here are
some
other enlightening things to consider…

1. The country of Lebanon decided over the last 20 years to
co-habitate
with Hezbollah. They were officially represented in the military and
even
in cabinet posts. Whether this was by choice or by intimidation is
hard to
determine. The reality is that their country harbored terrorists.

2. Would Hezbollah kill civilians themselves and blame it on Israelis
in
order to sway public opinion? Of course they would. They are
terrorists.
Killing innocent civilians is part of what they do. There is evidence
that
this has, in fact, occurred in some instances in Lebanon.

3. Would Hezbollah kill civilians who are deemed political opponents
during
the chaos of conflict? You bet they would. In fact, they
systematically
do. Some analysts expect to find a couple mass graves in the future
attributed to Hezbollah actions during this conflict.

4. Israel views the death of her civilians as tragedy. Hezbollah
views the
death of “her” civilians as opportunity. That is why Hezbollah will
purposefully imbed their troops with civilians (often unwilling
civilians).
There is a clash here of world-views.

5. While it is tragic many civilians were injured or killed attempting
to
flee the conflict (like the bus), we must also realize that many of
them
were given days to leave through repeated warnings by the Israelis.
Many of
them refused based on their solidarity with Hezbollah. They were
willing to
be human shields.

6. Cease Fire? The only reason Hezbollah or any other Islamic
terrorist
group ever yields to a cease fire is to re-arm and re-organize. They
have
no intention of a lasting peace. This principle is imbedded in Islam
from
Mohammed himself who signed a peace treaty with a city he could not
defeat.
After 2 years of strengthening his position, he broke the treaty and
took
the city.

7. The news media tends to say, “what everyone really wants is an end
to
the hostilities.” But that is not true. What many of us want is an
end to
Hezbollah. That would be good for everybody.

Does the reality of doctored photos change anything? I respectfully
submit
that it does. The doctored photos would lead one to believe that
ending
human suffering in this situation is to stop the “bad guys” the
Israelis.
The real way to end human suffering here is to end Hezbollah.

Blessings and appreciation for all you do,
Pastor Tim

Hello Pastor Tim,

Thank you for your response. I am in full agreement
with you that Hizbollah is a terrorist organization
who should not be equated with the Israeli army nor
the Israeli government. Any thinking person would
recognize that if Hizbollah did not exist and there
were no attacks on Israeli soil coming from inside
Lebanon, then Israel would mind its own business and
live at peace with the people of Lebanon. I also
think that it is hypocritical on Lebanon’s part to
shoot rockets into Israel targetting Israeli citizens
and then cry foul when Israel retaliates. I also agree
that any thinking person should recognize that the
cause of Israel, which is self-defense, is just and
the cause of Hizbollah (annihilation of Israel) is
unjust. So no one can question the end result
intended by Israel with any moral integrity (so long
as the end result is self-preservation and not
an encroachment on other sovereign nations)

This does not mean, however, that the means in which
Israel carries out its self-defence is closed to moral
examination. Although, as you point out, the media
does distort the facts at times, I think Christians
are a bit too self-defensive when a clear thinking
person in the media raises the issue of
proportionality. Although I can not say for sure
either way if Israel has applied Biblical
principles of morality in their tacticts, I think the question is
an appropriate one.

I also think that any lasting peace in the region
should deal with the land mines on Lebanese soil
placed by Israel during their earlier occupation.
Just as Israelis have a right to live in security
without being bombarded by rockets from Hizbollah, so
the people of Lebanon should have a right to walk on
their own soil without being blown to pieces by a land
mine.

Bottom line- Hizbollah should be disarmed and the land
mines should be removed. Christians, while not being
naive to the evils of Hizbollah’s cause, should make
every attempt to make peace on both sides of the
border.

I appreciate your convictions on this issue. You
raise some good points. Blessings to you and your
ministry.

Aaron

Posted on August 25, 2006, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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