The other side of the wall — Palestine

As part of our Ministers Study Leave, we attended a URC Justice Ministries presentation about the current situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories and Israel.

Rev Dr Munther Isaac, a Lutheran minister in Bethlehem, and author of “The Arab Church”, spoke of the realities of life as a Palestinian Christian today.  He provided a perspective from ‘the other side of the wall,’ from behind the wall erected by the Israeli government to enclose and isolate the Palestinian people.

He stressed certain points, which we share with you:

  • Stay informed through partnerships on the ground —  Commitment for Life is one agency that helps us do this.
  • Engage. Initiate processes to engage with the questions — We have invited Philip Brooks, the URC Ecumenical Officer to come preach at an Andover/Salisbury service and help usall engage.  There is so much to learn that we do not hear through our regular news sources.
  • Read and discuss the documents produced by  Cry for Hope.

CRY FOR HOPE: A CALL TO DECISIVE ACTION
WE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND THE OPPRESSION OF THE PALESTINIANS
1st July 2020
We, Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, a worldwide coalition born in response to the Kairos Palestine “Moment of Truth: a word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering,” issue this urgent call to Christians, churches and ecumenical institutions. We do this together with committed Christians in Palestine and around the world. This is a call for decisive action on a matter that we believe relates to the integrity of our Christian faith.  Read more.

  • Take Action – resist occupation.  Put pressure on governments. ‘Let our voices be heard in the language of love.’
    • ‘Speak truth to power, but speak it in love’  Revd Dr Munther Isaac
  • Support initiatives on the ground in Palestine:
    • Olive tree projects in Palestine, replacing olive groves demolished by Israeli expansion.
    • Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) — The World Council of Churches’ programme to create an international presence in the country.
      • EAPPI provides a continuous presence of 25-30 Ecumenical Accompaniers on the ground, serving for three months in accompanying, offering protective presence, and witness.  Learn more.
      • EAPPI also links up with Israeli groups such as B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. It has helped B’Tselem provide information and photographs on activities such the uprooting of Palestinians’ olive trees during Israeli settler expansion. Learn more about B’Tselem and see their photos here.
    • Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) —  a Palestinian NGO specializing in tours and pilgrimages that include critical examinations of the history, culture, and politics of the Holy Land. Established in 1995, ATG operates according to the tenets of “justice tourism”, that is, tourism that holds as its central goals the creation of economic opportunities for the local community, positive cultural exchange between host and guest through one-on-one interaction, the protection of the environment and political/historical education. ATG works to encourage all tourism operators to abandon exploitative mass tourism and to adopt practices that positively affect the host population. Through these methods, ATG seeks to promote a positive image of Palestine and its people and to contribute towards establishing rightful peace in the area. Since its establishment, ATG has provided its services to thousands of people from all over the world.  Learn more.
  • And we add – Pray!  Hold the people of Palestine and Israel in your hearts and minds.

Salisbury United Reformed Church