Saturday, December 24, 2005


The as yet unrebuked sin

It's forbidden by Deuteronomy, and yet people calling themselves People of the Book do it: When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee? (Deuteronomy 20:19) Making war by destroying nature, especially trees that bear food, is to destroy the staff of life itself. It is to express contempt for what God creates to feed one. It is hubris. And yet, contempt for God's gifts has become the norm in the West Bank settlements: Even though another 100 olive trees were cut down this week, and even though 15 complaints were filed to the police, and even though, in total, we are talking about property destruction amounting to thousands of trees in the northern West Bank, the law enforcement agencies have yet to make any effort to locate the settlers responsible, and no arrests have been made. But worse things are done. To paraphrase Luke 12:6-7, is not one human being worth many olive trees? ...Gideon Levy tells the story of Mahmoud Shawara, a 43-year-old father of nine, who left for work on his donkey one day from his house in the village of Nuaman, near Bethlehem, was arrested by border policemen, and, after he refused to accompany the soldiers without his donkey, was tied to the donkey. The frightened donkey then galloped toward the village; Shawara sustained serious injuries all over his body, and ultimately died in great pain in the hospital to which he was taken by eyewitnesses. Although the Department for Investigating Policemen found no relationship between the border policemen's behavior and Shawara's death,testimony indicates that this is an abusive practice well known to Palestinians. It even has a nickname: "the donkey procedure." Similar things go on in Iraq, committed with our tax dollars. There is much too much contempt for what God has created. Christmas and Hannukah overlap for about six hours this year. Jews celebrate the miraculous oil that burned eight days, long enough to purify the temple from Seleucid paganism. Christians celebrate the light that Love brings to those who accept His sovereignty. The first blessing of Hannukah is "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights." How can anyone celebrate the sanctification of the commandments while cutting down trees and human beings with equal indifference to what the Torah says?
It is also sad that in addition to blowing up innocent Iraqi citizens, we have also mowed down orchards.
Yeah. Doesn't anyone read their Bible?
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