Thursday, May 9, 2024

Excerpt of Interview with Palestinian leader Eli Chacour, follower of Jesus, author of Blood Brothers

From SOPHIA Vol.54 number 2, Spring 2024

“Unless We Share the Land Together,
We Are Doomed to Disappear Together.”

An interview with Archbishop Elias Chacour,
Author of Blood Brothers (his own family’s
tragic story of how his father and brother were
kidnapped by the Israeli Army, their church was
blown up, and they were banished from their
village, yet his father said they needed to love
their enemies—the Israelis as Jesus taught)

Elias Chacour is
Melkite Catholic Archdiocese
of Akka, Haifa, Nazareth, and All Galilee
and Leader of Mar Elias Educational Institutions including a high school with 1200 students; 60% Muslim, 40% Christian, Druze... There are some Jewish teachers, but no longer any Jewish students.

Sophia: Westerners were quick to condemn Hamas’s
killing of Israeli civilians last
year, yet have been more
likely to excuse or ignore the
atrocities being committed
by the state of Israel against
Palestinians. Why do you
believe that is?

Elias Chacour: It is the traditional way in the Western world to
justify everything Israel does. Israel
is considered a divine entity. It can
do no wrong. That’s why there is so
little sympathy with the Palestinians.

We have to understand that the
violence did not happen out of the
blue. It’s like a circle in the chain.
Palestinians have been suffering for
75 years. They lost their homes. They
lost their independence. They were under siege in Gaza. All the people in
Gaza are Palestinians from Palestine, but they were reduced
to refugees in their own country and scattered around the
world. So, it’s understandable that, at some point,
they would revolt.
But it was too atrocious.
Of course, I condemn it. But
what has been done to the
Palestinians, both before the
Hamas attack and after it, as
retaliation, is also atrocious.

It is unbelievable and unacceptable. Israel is demolishing a whole section of Gaza
and reducing the people to refugees, without
any excuse. They want to destroy, and they want to demolish.
They want to finish with the existence of the Palestinians.
We are used to seeing the Western world being one-sided
and say that whatever Israel does is legitimate and good. Even
to massacre, kill, and destroy is good because they are the chosen people. My goodness, this isn’t God’s judgment!

The Palestinians lost everything. Their country, their independence,
and their dignity. Everything. They are a scattered people.
They have lost everything. What Israel has done in Gaza is an
atrocity. It is an act of revenge.

The Jews have a good memory. They remember the Holocaust, which is good. They don’t want to forget it, and they shouldn’t!

But they blame Palestinians. How can they blame us?
The Jews say they are here because this was their home 2,000
years ago. Fine. They were deported by the Romans, and we were
We were here, too. We stayed here. We waited here. And
then we welcomed them when they came in. But we cannot accept what they are doing to us.

SOPHIA: There are many in the West who say that there’s no
such thing as Palestine and that Jordan might as
well be the Arab homeland. But you clearly have a
deep Palestinian identity.

Eli Chacour: Absolutely. Why do you think that Westerners have a hard time
understanding that all Arabs are not alike, and that Palestine is
a real place with a real people?

I think it is because the Zionist propaganda convinced the
Western world that they have to compensate for what was done
to the Jews during World War II—the Holocaust...
I remember my father told us, within a few days, we might
have Jewish soldiers come to our village. That was in 1948. He
said, these are the survivors of a certain satanic plan in Germany
aiming at destroying all the Jews... And
some would be coming to our village. We need to show them that
somewhere in this world, they are welcome. They are our blood
brothers. That’s why I wrote my book, Blood Brothers.

SOPHIA: That was a beautiful part of your autobiography.
Initially, your father wanted to welcome the Jews
because they had nowhere else to go.

Eli Chacour: I want to say something very dangerous. The land of Palestine does not belong to the Jews. Yet, it cannot belong to the Palestinians either.
The land is God’s and both have to share the land!

That’s why I wrote my second book, We Belong to the Land. The Jews can say that. The Palestinians have the right to say that also. Unless we share the land together, we are doomed to disappear together.

SOPHIA: The State of Israel has sometimes claimed that they
are trying to protect Palestinian Christians from
Islamist terrorists and radicals. Have you found
this to be the case?

Eli Chacor: No, no, no, no.... The Christian Palestinian villages
that were destroyed by the creation of the State of Israel are
many—about twenty villages...the Jews who
came, and they were welcomed by us, and then as a response
to our welcome, they destroyed our villages...

Eli Chacour:
... two Christian women were going to a church in Gaza, and the
Israeli snipers shot them...

To read the whole interview go to:
The Journal of the Melkite Catholic Eparchy, page 15-17

Those wishing to support Archbishop Elias’s educational apostolate can
donate to the Pilgrims of Ibillin (

In the LIGHT of Justice, Sharing, Kindness, Peace-creating,

Daniel Wilcox

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