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Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares, sculpture by Yevgeny Vuchetich - 1959 gift of the Soviet Union to the United Nations - garden of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Credit: Neptuul

There are now twelve days to Christmas. In Bethlehem, the Christian religious leaders are staging a different manger scene. The baby Jesus will lie in the midst of destruction.

Two weeks ago, the leaders of Bethlehem’s major Christian communities, including Greek Orthodox, Syriac, Armenian, Catholic and Lutheran denominations, composed a letter addressed to President Biden calling for a ceasefire. A delegation of three of them—possibly three rather wise men—carried the letter to Washington, D.C. It read, in part:

“We bring you greetings on behalf of the Christian community in Bethlehem, the city of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Next week, we were supposed to begin our advent and Christmas season. This should have been a time of joy and hope. This year, it is a season of death and despair... This year, Christmas celebrations are cancelled in Bethlehem.”

“We write you in deep sorrow and pain. We are devastated by the images of death and destruction we see in our land... We affirm that every human being is created in the image of God and is worthy of living a dignified life and ‘a life more abundant’… Yet at the same time, we are broken because this war could have been avoided. For years, as followers of Jesus, we have called for peace that is based on justice. This land has been crying for peace and justice for 75 years. It is time justice is served. It is time everybody can live with dignity in this land…A comprehensive and just peace is the only hope for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

“We are writing to plead with you to help stop this war. God has placed political leaders in a position of power so that they can bring justice, support those who suffer, and be instruments of God’s peace. We want a constant and comprehensive ceasefire... This is a moral obligation.”

As U.S. Senatorial candidate Diane Sare has emphasized, everyone knows that President Biden could simply pick up the phone and tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that the killing stops now, either that or all aid, financial and military, stops now. So, what stops Biden? For that matter, why did he not meet with the three moral men from Bethlehem?

Giving Biden the benefit of the doubt, he would have citizens believe that firm, friendly advice to Netanyahu will do the trick, getting Israel to finally agree to a two-state solution.

But there’s an evil afoot that cannot and will not be grasped, short of staring straight in the face at imperial evil, the sort of evil that rules by inculcating blind fear and rage in the subject populations. But it’s the evil much deserved by societies that fail to identify and carry out common Christian or Jewish or Islamic mission to, in so many words, be fruitful and hold dominion over nature. So, what is missing are political leaders that are in their position because they actually know how to chart a course of real economic development, one based upon raising up the cultural and skill levels of their population.

Israel, to wipe out Hamas, began pumping salt water yesterday from the Mediterranean into Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza. Israel’s freed hostages warned Netanyahu that their fellow hostages will be drowned, to no avail. But the action will surely kill many more, simply by polluting what remains of clean water in Gaza, much less, damaging damage the land far into the future.

To actually wipe out Hamas and, for that matter, the ‘blood and soil’ fascism of the “settlers’ movement” pushing for “Greater Israel,” all one needs to do is commit for the economic development of the region. Instead of salting the land Roman-Empire-style, desalinate the water, massively irrigate the land, wipe out the desert and realize the other—agricultural, industrial and scientific—components of the “Oasis Plan.”

Yet, don’t assume the mistake is simply that of the Jews or Palestinians of the region. They would choose the “Oasis Plan” in a heartbeat, if given half a chance. Rather look at the British Empire’s “Great Game,” along with the more fundamental mistake of the American Republic for forgetting, even denying, its heritage in opposing and beating that empire. In a sense, every bumbling move that Biden makes is a sign that you, your family and your community have been falling short—but, yesterday, 153 nations voted for the UN ceasefire resolution, leaving Israel, the U.S. and eight other stragglers wandering in the desert. Since there’s now a lot of support for doing the right thing, it is time to get to work.

Finally, take note of a certain bronze sculpture at the UN. It depicts a man beating a sword into a plowshare. It epitomizes what has been sorely missing from most appeals for peace, including yesterday’s ceasefire vote—for the name of peace is, in a fundamental sense, actual economic development. Mastering the ["Oasis Plan"]( 20231026 oasis plan_1.pdf ( of Lyndon LaRouche is what Isaiah was calling for in his cry of old, to beat swords into plowshares—and it is hard to see how one can successfully organize one’s neighbor, legislator or President without arming oneself appropriately.