Thursday, 4 June 2009

Week of Prayer for Peace in Palestine - Israel and 'The Elephant in the Room'

Last Friday Annie and I joined a small group of Christians and Jews (the former associated with Pax Christi, Friends of Sabeel and the Ecumenical Accompanier Programme and the latter associated with Jews for Justice for Palestinians) in an act of witness outside the UAV Ltd engine factory in Shenstone nr Litchfield. The witness was part of the World Council of Churches Week of Prayer for Palestine Israel. The Israeli owned factory produces the engines for the Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles or Drones that were used according to Amnesty International in surveilance and targeting missions over Gaza at the turn of the year. The simple act of witness was followed by a church service based on the World Council of Churches service for the week that can be downloaded here.

It was good to come together with Jewish friends in this witness, often though Israel Palestine can be a point of divergence between some Christians and some Jews. Palestine-Israel is often the 'elephant in the room' of Christian - Jewish dialogue, as this article by Rabbi Tony Bayfield at the time of the recent Gaza atrocities articulates.

Many of the issues facing Christians involved in dialogue with both Jews and Muslims, and in campaigning for a Just Peace in Israel Palestine are explored in this recent piece by Jane Clements at the time of the Popes visit to the 'Holy Land'.

Although a little older another article of interest is this one by Paul Oestreicher called Loving Israel, Loving Palestine - Is it Possible?

I welcome and have agreed to participate in plans that are afoot in Birmingham for a facilitated dialogue between an invited group of local Christians and Jews on Israel/Palestine in the autumn. I also look forward to the broadening of such a dialogue into one that eventually includes Muslim sisters and brothers.

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