It has been difficult for me to focus on my job as I heard about and saw videos of what is happening in Palestine.
Why would a Palestinian try to stab an Israeli soldier knowing that he or she will for sure be shot dead for trying? When people become this desperate then you know that they have nothing left to lose.
Sadly, I know what it feels like to be so sad and miserable and to have nothing left to lose. I went on many demonstrations during the first uprising in 1987. When others ran away, I stood in front of the Israeli soldiers hoping and wishing they would shoot me. I prayed to God every day that He would end my life.
The current situation at home brought back old memories...of being awakened in the middle of the night to watch the soldiers demolish my neighbor's house...of my sister telling us that they again broke into her house at night and took her husband to jail while her young children screamed in fear...of injured Palestinians being brought into our science department their blood dripping on the floor...of smelling tear gas...of countless times where I visited mothers devastated by the loss of their children...of Iyad who died in the arms of my 10-year-old niece after being shot with a dum-dum bullet by an Israeli soldier...of Palestinian men humiliated and beaten in front of me by the Israeli soldiers..
One image has never left me and seems to be engraved in my memory. It is of Isaac, a student at Bethlehem University who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier. That day in October of 1987 was a day that changed my life forever. Watching Isaac with a bullet hole in his head for two hours because the soldiers did not allow us to take him to a hospital, and then hearing that the soldiers did not allow Isaac's family to give him a proper burial or even allow his siblings to come to his burial made my heart fill with hate. I still remember all of us standing together and singing as Isaac was finally rolled away: "It is Ok if we die as long as we root death out from among us."
That year, 1987, my university was closed for 2 years. During those two years I allowed hate and anger to dwell in my heart as I looked for reasons why that happened to Issac and why all these things were happening to my people.
I have come to realize that there is a better way. I found that better way when I joined the Church. I have come to realize that the Savior can teach me to love and forgive. He even can help me have peace. Here is my story that was published in the Ensign in September of 2012.
Click to Read my Article--Loving My Enemies
Loving and forgiving others does not mean we agree with what they do. It means we accept and love them as children of God, but still hate sin and stand firm against injustices and error. The savior exemplified this when the woman, caught in adultery, was brought before Him. He was not angry, He forgave her and loved her, but that did not mean He was ok with her sin.
Elder Oaks said: "Even as we seek to be meek and to avoid contention, we must not
compromise or dilute our commitment to the truths we understand. We must
not surrender our positions or our values. The gospel of Jesus Christ
and the covenants we have made inevitably cast us as combatants in the
eternal contest between truth and error. There is no middle ground in
that contest. ... We
should be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any
kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief
My mother's friend was shot dead by the Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem the other day. My mother was very upset. It is one thing hearing on the news about people who are killed, but it is a completely different story when you actually know the person killed. My mother ran into her friend just a day or two before he was shot. She said she thought she would take a couple of her birds and give them to his two boys. Now he is gone.
I spoke with one of my friends who lives in Bethlehem but works in Jerusalem. She expressed to me her fear. She said she has never been this scared before and the situation has never been worse. She said that she leaves home each day not knowing if she will return alive. Settlers and Israeli soldiers are now so scared that a Palestinian will attempt a stabbing that they shoot first and ask questions later. That is why some innocent Palestinians have been shot. My friend said that she is even afraid to reach into her purse and pull something out fearing that the soldiers would think she is reaching for a knife and shoot her.
Her son asked her for a napkin the other day as they walked home from Jerusalem, and she had to ask him to use his sleeve as she was afraid to reach for a napkin from her purse. Settlers have attacked Palestinian homes in Hebron and my friend said she gets up at night many times to check if the doors are locked and if her children are safe.
May we exercise self control and seek for forgiveness towards those that have offended us. "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do," the Savior prayed to His Father in Heaven. He forgave those that crucified Him and humiliated Him.
Corrie Ten Boom said:
“I discovered that it
is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s
healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives,
along with the command, the love itself.”
The love of men is definitely waxing cold and this means the second coming is getting closer and closer. May we learn from the Savior's example and have patience with those that hurt us or don't quite see things the way we do. This in no way implies that we ignore or justify their evil and harmful acts. But, have peace and trust that the Savior will one day make all things right.