It is a pity that Father Peter Dougherty and Sister Mary Ellen Gundeck didn’t think to investigate the institutionalized mistreatment of Christians under Sharia law before joining those who wish to impose that Sharia. No houses would need to be destroyed if the jihadists didn’t use them as bases to attack Israeli civilians. “American nun, priest join Gaza standoff,” by Ibrahim Barzak for Associated Press:
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip “” An American priest and nun spent several hours Wednesday at a militant’s home that Israel has targeted for destruction, the first foreigners to join a weeklong standoff between Palestinian “human shields” and the Israeli air force.
Father Peter Dougherty, 65, and Sister Mary Ellen Gundeck, 55, both Michigan-based peace activists, said they were sent by God to help protect the Palestinians. The pair arrived Wednesday morning at the family home of Mohammed Baroud, a militant involved in rocket attacks on Israel.
For the past week, Palestinian militants and civilians have crowded into five militants’ houses to try to thwart Israeli threats to hit them with missiles. The use of human shields is a new tactic in the Palestinians’ war against Israel’s mighty military.
Since militants allied with the ruling Hamas party kidnapped an Israeli soldier in June, the air force has destroyed the homes of at least 73 militants, usually after calling owners and warning residents to evacuate.
House demolitions are considered harsh punishment in crowded Gaza. Most people live in densely populated apartment blocks with extended families, and dozens are often left homeless when one building is destroyed.
Dougherty and Gundeck said they had visited several of the houses under threat on Tuesday, and on Wednesday they reached Baroud’s three-story home.
“It is wrong for Israel to bomb people’s houses,” Dougherty said. “We are here in solidarity, and to try communicate to the world what is really going on.”
The nun and priest, dressed in shirts and pants, said they were staying for several hours at each of the targeted houses. They were warmly welcomed by Ahmed Baroud, a brother of the militant.
The building’s rooftop has been decorated with Palestinian political faction banners. Local leaders of the rival Hamas and Fatah groups spend the nights there, gathering around a small fire to show Israeli aircraft they are still in the targeted house.