Gary Burge, an Anglican Biblical scholar teaching at Wheaton College writes in the last issue of Sojourners an account of his participation on Sunday 14 March 2010, in Beit Jala, Bethlehem, in a peaceful demonstration against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Here is a fragment:
I wondered what happens next. If anyone pushed through the soldiers they would either use tear gas or arrest them. But I tried to collapse the whole thing down to one soldier: the guy in front of me with his rifle and body armor. I was 12 inches from him and simply asked him his name because I could tell he understood English. (Soldiers are ordered not to talk to demonstrators. Of course, no one wants a human face on this thing.) But he spoke. “Jonathan.” From New York. 19 years old. One year of military service so far. So young. So seemingly gentle. And he seemed really conflicted. Aiming a rifle at a crowd with kids does something to your heart.
I asked him why he was doing this. He summed up everything in a sentence or two: “These people are dangerous. We must be safe. If we don’t do this to them, who knows what they will do. Besides, I’m just following orders.”
Read HERE the whole article.
* * *
Gary M. Burge is professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Chicago, IL. He has recently authored Whose Land? Whose Promise?: What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians (Pilgrim) and Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land Theology” (Baker Academic).