I served the World Council of Churches in Bethlehem as a human rights observer for a few months this past year. I went because I, like most Canadians, believe in: the rule of international law, human rights and peace with justice.
Witnessing human rights abuses by Israeli forces on an almost daily basis was shocking. Standing by the bedside of an innocent 12-year-old critically wounded by an Israeli sniper was gut wrenching. Being with a 16-year-old bystander shot by the Israeli military who still has a bullet lodged in his brain was sickening. Violence only serves to beget more violence. From 2000 to 2012, almost 8,000 people died in the conflict, over 6,800 were Palestinians including over 1,000 Palestinian children. A single death alone is one too many.
Another reality is that Israeli courts in Palestine have a conviction rate of 99% against Palestinians. This has lead the ASA and others like Nobel winner Stephen Hawking to join the academic boycott called for by Palestinians against Israel.
Perhaps Mr. Murphy should look at the stand of the European Union in relation to Israel. Better yet, perhaps he should spend some time on the ground meeting with Palestinians and Israelis working for peace.
Rev. Steve Berube, United Church minister and co-chair of the United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel, Riverview, N.B.