A recent joint prayer held in the Vatican by Catholic Pope Francis with Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas may have been a touching gesture, but only real-world actions will bring about peace in the Middle-East.
So says Dr. Firoz Osman of the Media Review Network (MRN) who believes instead of uniting through religion, the world must force Israel to atone for its wrongdoings against the Palestinian people. Osman says Francis’s recent visit to Israel and Palestine visit was legitimate and sincere, but he doubts a gesture such as praying together in the Vatican will have any effect on the lives of Palestinians on the ground.
“I have to express my [doubts] that the Pope inviting Peres and Abbas to pray together at the Vatican will yield any positive results. This is simply because the issue of the occupation of Palestinian land is not a religious issue,” he says.
Osman believes Zionism, the spark for the founding of the Israeli state, is not religious in any way, but rather a nationalist movement based on colonialism.
“It started in the Zionist movement that emanated from Europe, which was aimed at occupying and usurping Palestinian land for Zionist purposes. The founding father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, was an atheist. So this is purely a [political] movement, and not a religious one that has the covering of religious connotations.”
He says only reforms in policy between Israel and Palestine will forge a solution to conflict that has been taking place in the Levant for nearly the last seven decades.
“However well intentioned the Pope was to bring over Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas to pray for peace in the holy land one must instead address the political motivations of occupying Palestinian territory.”
He cited Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who described anyone who is neutral within an unjust system as being on the side of the oppressor. VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)