The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Peace Not Walls'

Readers see Mideast differently

William Lamkin’s view of the situation in Palestine and Israel (February, My View: "What's in a slogan?: Peace Not Walls") is riddled with faulty information and assumptions. First, Yasser Arafat didn’t reject a Palestinian state in 2000. He rejected, as did Israel, some of the proposals emerging from the so-called Camp David conversations. Arafat’s main concern was that the proposed land division would have resulted in three “statelets” instead of a contiguous West Bank. Second, building the wall cuts off Palestinians from hospitals, schools, water, farmland, family, food supplies and places of worship. If Israel built the wall on its land, the world would affirm its right to self-defense. Most is being built on confiscated Palestinian land. The ELCA policy, in shorthand, is “Two states, three faiths.” That seems the right course for the situation and within our church’s competence and authority to voice.

Robert Bacher
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Neutrality not option

Were the ELCA to adopt a neutral position (on Palestine and Israel), we would forfeit any moral standing in regard to Christian faith. Who today would argue for “equal and balanced” treatment to both Jews and their Nazi exterminators? Nor can we remain detached from this injustice. It’s unfortunate that Israel, which existentially knows the pain of past oppression, now follows the same path toward the Palestinians.

Byron Schmid
Blaine, Minn.

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February issue


Embracing diversity