"No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited." -- Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
The head of a Michigan-based tour company that leads trips to the Holy Land said the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas so far has not had an impact on pilgrimages he and his associates lead.
"Everything is still functioning like in any other normal business day. The sector of tourism industry to the Holy Land is not affected," said Steve Ray, a tour guide and CEO of Footprints of God in Ann Arbor.
My partner in this series of sociopolitical blog posts is Ra'fat Aldajani, a Palestinian-American who represents the majority Palestinian view. I sat with Ra'fat to probe his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. -- Drew Christiansen
Christiansen: Tell me a little more about your family and Palestinian identity.
Last week, Hamas fired rockets at the Tel Aviv airport in Israel, and one of them hit and destroyed a home. All the family was out; no one was hurt. But a woman who lived there was quoted on "NBC Nightly News," saying about the Arabs, "I wish they'd all die."
Both priests spoke of their material powerlessness against the weapons of war, but of the importance of their spiritual presence for their community.
My friend Michael La Civita, who is the communications director for Catholic Near East Welfare Association and who oversees the publication of its award-winning magazine, ONE, has written an essay over at Our Sunday Visitor about the dire condition of the Middle East. He notes that the presence of Christians is a necessary ingredient to long-term peace in that region of the world. It's worth the read.
NCR Today: As another week of violence comes to a close, Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, has been advancing the cause of peace in the Holy Land.
Listen to the news any day, any hour. You will find commentators, usually Republicans, who think that President Barack Obama needs to show more "muscle" in his conduct of foreign policy or act "more strongly" wherever -- you name the place -- or "regain America's leadership role in the world." Many critics wish he had kept at least some U.S. troops in Iraq, engaged to some degree in the civil war in Syria, and had "taken decisive action" (whatever that means) against Russia for annexing Crimea and supporting the Ukrainian separatists.
NCR Today: Resources for peace in Gaza; Rick Santorum; immigration issues; fired bishop of Toowoomba, Australia, writes memoir; and much more.
The Vatican representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council urged the Israeli military and fighters in the Gaza Strip to stop targeting civilian areas.
"As the number of people killed, wounded, uprooted from their homes, continues to increase in the conflict between Israel and some Palestinian groups, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the voice of reason seems submerged by the blast of arms," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said Wednesday during a special session of the council in Geneva.