The St. Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza City suffered severe damage due to an Israeli bomb, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 18 people, including several children. Hundreds of people were taking shelter in the building when Israeli warplanes targeted it with two raids, severely damaging one of the four buildings in its compound on Thursday evening.
This attack further prompts us to question the logic behind the support of many Christians for Israel over Palestine. A photograph circulating in connection with this conflict displays Amos 1:6-8, a biblical passage that reads:
“Thus says the Lord: ‘For three transgressions of Gaza and for four, I will not revoke the punishment because they carried a whole people into exile to deliver them up to Edom. So, I will send fire upon the wall of Gaza, and it shall devour her strongholds. I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod, and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn my hand against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,’ says the Lord God.”
It’s important to note that interpreting this passage as a justification for genocide against today’s Gaza inhabitants is profoundly problematic. The interpretation becomes even more perplexing when we consider the fact that there are Christians in Palestine. Are they among the ‘transgressors’? Using these historical events as a justification for murder and occupation raises profound moral and ethical questions that transcend religious interpretation.
The prophecy was partially fulfilled during the time of the Assyrian Empire. Gaza fell to Assyria in 734 BC; Ashdod, in 711 BC; Ashkelon, and Ekron, in 701 BC. However, the prophecy was entirely fulfilled later during the Maccabean period (168–134 BC).
Support for Israel based solely on religious convictions betrays the plight of Palestinian Christians, who also endure the hardships of the conflict. It is essential to consider the experiences of all those affected by the strife, to stand up for the oppressed, and to speak out against the oppressor.
Zionists do not respect Jesus, they do not respect Mary, and they care very little about Christianity. Now, they have bombed a church, yet the slogan remains, ‘God bless Israel.’
— Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman