KHOURY: Lethal competition in the Holy Land, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 01-14-09

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Lethal Competition in the Holy Land
Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D. —
I think I became angry at my brother the other day expressing my wish and hope that the Israeli leadership should be punished over the accused war crimes in Gaza. So my brother just laughed on the phone saying: “Don’t hold your breath…Remember they are the Chosen People…Israel is above all laws…”

I am deeply trying to reflect that the “Chosen People” did not actually even accept the Messiah or the reason that God selected them to deliver salvation to humanity which actually, I, as an Orthodox Christian baptized onto Christ became the New Israel since Christians accept Christ as Lord and savior, are we not the Spiritual Israel?

Please don’t be confused that the Israel we sing and chant in our gospels is the Israel on the ground right now with the tanks, the gunships and the war tactics. Our Israel is a spiritual homeland. The Israel that right now is using white phosphorous chemical warfare and dense inert metal explosives in Gaza to cut human beings into hundreds of pieces or if these Palestinians survive this new type of high density explosive they will have long term cancer effects, is not the Israel of my gospels.

Even if you are the “Chosen People,” it does not allow you to treat other human beings with cruelty and killing more than 930 and injuring over 4,000 in less than eighteen days. No descent person or chosen person should act or react with this madness because it goes against humanity and what it means to be a descent human being.
Gaza has seen the worst carnage ever with this deadly game that Israel and Hamas are literally playing with innocent civilian lives. I remember when my son Canaan was born, Feb 27, 1987, there was not even a Hamas member in existence but Israel had to find a way to break the word of the late Yasser Arafat in the streets of the West Bank and to find ways to divide the Palestinians. Israel supported the creation of Hamas as the Islamic Resistance Movement since Arafat and his Fatah movement wanted a secular free Palestine.

A handful of Hamas members emerged and than we began to see hundreds, thousands until finally in January 2006, fair and square, under international microscope, Hamas won the majority of the votes for the Palestinian Parliament and became millions in numbers. But, with this Hamas victory, it is the Palestinian people that had to pay the highest price following the international financial boycott which collapsed the country since the world did not like the way the Palestinians voted and this finally led to Palestinians killing each other.

Right now on the ground in Palestine, for all those of us who never supported Hamas and are not Hamas members, after this brutal and fierce fighting in Gaza, I am thinking each and every Palestinian will be a Hamas supporter. Violence is never the answer but this war will help create more fanatics. It will never finish until each and every Palestinian is dead. And right now, those of us modern, moderate people who are working for freedom in Palestine using peaceful methods are losing ground.

The Israelis have been successful to completely take everything from the Palestinians, their homes, their lands, personal properties, their future and their hope but the one thing they want to specifically destroy, especially with this war, is the will power of the Palestinian child to be free. It is this spirit that cannot be destroyed. Living on the wrong side of the Wall, in a complete open prison which sometimes I escape because of my American passport, makes me see that Palestinians need peace with justice. I really don’t understand how there will be peace for Israel and the right for Israel to exist when for the last nine years in the West Bank and Gaza our life as normal has stopped to exist and people forget that Palestinians cannot do simple things like freely go to school, work, hospitals, holy places, etc. Israel controls all the boarders and their security and brutal occupation has cost the United States government more than 100 billion dollars since the creation of Israel (1948). Of course, oppressed people will resist and it will continue to cost the American taxpayer more than 6.8 billion dollars a day until the international community looks at the root cause of the problem not just military solutions.

As the battle rages fiercely in Gaza, I am not sure what language people feel comfortable using. I mean they don’t like words like ethnic cleansing, genocide or massacre or slaughter but really, please, give me one good word when entire families are killed at the same spot, the mom and the kids and the grandmother and hundreds of them at the same time. Don’t bother to Google the photos you will simply throw up at the violent graphics.

Please give me a nice word when no one condemns the Israeli occupation forces for their attacks on journalists and media outlets and the enormous devastation and humanitarian disaster. I cannot keep up with the statistics after four journalists were killed, eight mosques were bombed, the schools, the hospitals and the one hundred thousand people that had to flee their homes for safety in a place that has nothing safe about it.

Please give me a nice word when many people like doctors, human rights workers and members of several European parliaments want to take medical supplies into Gaza and help Palestinians but Israel continues the blockade. Or when hospitals supported by a global humanitarian alliance of churches and agencies are targeted by F16 fighter jets of the Israeli Air Force forcing them to shut down and not give the desperate needed medical services.

Reflecting more carefully, I can see why my brother is laughing at my undying hope since Israel is the target of at least 65 United National Resolutions for its violations of human rights and still the American government has no harsh words to tell them. Furthermore, since 2000 the Israeli army has uprooted and destroyed more than one million trees to punish Palestinians and since 1967 has demolished more than 18,000 Palestinian homes but no one is telling them to stop.

At the end of the day, Israel and Hamas must talk so why do they have to be responsible for so much bloodshed? Pray for a peace with justice and this madness to stop. If you believe in the “one person can make a difference” philosophy contact your senators and representatives and ask them to hold both sides accountable and vote for the security and human rights for all people not just Israel since technically speaking what fault did the Palestinians have to pay the price for the discrimination that Jews received in Europe. What right did Britain have to grant Jews another people’s country. But these are not popular questions in our media and instead everyone is sending me emails asking me why is Hamas firing rockets into Israel?
There is no simple answer and you don’t have to live there to see that more understanding and reconciliation is needed on all sides and this is exactly why our Christian presence is more important than ever in a land that needs the message of Christ’s peace and love for humanity. It has been more than two thousand years after Christ’s birth in the Holy Land and I guess not much has changed. But it reaffirms that the hope of each and every Christian is the promise of eternal life. (John 3:16; John 6:40)

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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