Tag Archives: President Obama

Put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes.

22 Mar

Obama israeli flag

from U.S. President Barack’s Obama speech to Israeli university students in Jerusalem on Thursday, March 21, 2013

– on script –

But the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, their right to justice must also be recognized. (Cheers, applause.) And put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes.

It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own (Cheers, applause) living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements, not just of those young people but their parents, their grandparents, every single day. It’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished. (Applause.) It’s not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands or restricting a student’s ability to move around the West Bank (Applause) or displace Palestinian families from their homes. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. (Cheers, applause.) Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land. (Applause.)

– off script –

But I — I’m going off script here for a second, but before I — before I came here, I — I met with a — a group of young Palestinians from the age of 15 to 22. And talking to them, they weren’t that different from my daughters. They weren’t that different from your daughters or sons.

I honestly believe that if — if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say, I want these kids to succeed. (Applause.) I want them to prosper. I want them to have opportunities just like my kids do. (Applause.) I believe that’s what Israeli parents would want for these kids if they had a chance to listen to them and talk to them. (Cheers, applause.) I believe that. (Cheers, applause.)

Obama Palestinian flag

There is a video clip of this sction of the President’s speech at the CBS new website. 

respectfully, Mr. President

21 Mar

obama israel visit 2013 statement

Below is the letter from the Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land to the US President Obama for his first visit in Israel, West Bank and Jordan. Barack Obama arrived in Israel on Wednesday, his first visit as US president. He will visit Bethlehem tomorrow, Friday, March 22, 2013.

The President of the United States

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
USA

Dear Mr. President,

We, the heads of the Catholic/Christian Churches in Jerusalem, welcome you wholeheartedly on your forthcoming visit to Israel and Palestine. On this occasion we would like to draw your attention to some major problems that deeply affect the Christian presence in these countries.

In this year, the Palestinian people are living for 46 years under Israeli military occupation. The plight of the Palestinian Christians is the same as that of the Palestinian People as a whole, and as a consequence everything that affects the Palestinian people also affects the Christians.

In the occupied Palestinian territories, among the numerous violations of international law by the Israeli authorities we mention only a few: illegal Israeli settlements, a permit regime which restricts severely access to the Holy places for Muslims and Christians alike, expropriation of privately owned Palestinian land for settlement expansion and the construction of the separation barrier (like in the present case of the valley Cremisan), etc.

Statelessness, endless family unification procedures and the rejection of the registration of children as well as the limited possibilities to expand due to few granted building permits in East Jerusalem violate basic human rights of the Palestinians and force them into displacement, migration and exile.

The majority of the local Christian population being part of the Arab population in Israel, they are as such subjected to an ongoing, hidden policy of discrimination and are treated as second class citizens in the fields of education, job opportunities, property ownership, local municipal services, etc.

Though the Christian Palestinian presence plays an important role in this Holy Land: it gives a large contribution in the fields of education, healthcare and social services, their absence will have catastrophic consequences especially with the rise of the fundamentalists on both sides. Thus every effort should be made to preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land, and to have it flourish in the future so that hope is not lost. The oppressive and discriminatory policies by the Israeli government constitute a violation of the protection of a religious minority which is specifically underlined by international law.

We urge you, in your position as President of the United States of America, to require from the State of Israel to respect international law and to stop all illegal policies targeting the Palestinian population of the Holy Land; this would be the best way of contributing to preserve and protect the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

Most Respectfully,

Justice and Peace Commission, Assembly Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land

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As previously posted, I sent an email to President Obama and signed an online petition against the building of the Wall in the Cremisan Valley.

 

an email “toward” President Obama

14 Mar

Obama Bethlehem 1

Hearing that President Obama is scheduled to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem next week, I sent him an email.

Mr. President –

While you are in Bethlehem, please keep your ears open to hear anything about the Cremisan Valley in the Beit Jala area of Bethlehem. There is a “win-win” opportunity in the Cremisan Valley for both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Adding in how it would be a “win” situation for you and for the United States, there is in the Cremisan Valley a “win-win-win” opportunity. My prayers will be for your safety and your success, especially during your visit to Bethlehem (and Beit Jala). You are a brave man, in more ways than one, for committing yourself to visit Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity.

Father Rob Waller, Pastor, St. Andrew Catholic Church, Milford, Ohio.

I don’t have his personal email address, of course. So, I guess I sent it “toward” him, through the White House website, realistically assuming that it might not ever “arrive” to him. But who knows? I did mark it “important.” That should get the attention of his staff, don’t you think, and make them want to rush it right to his desk in the Oval Office or take it upstairs to him and interrupt his breakfast? I added my telephone number, too, just in case he wants to call. Drat! I gave them the one at the office. I should have given them my cell phone number.