World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel

By Andrew Telfer

Posted in News

The photograph accompanying this article is in Bethlehem and is a section of the Security/Separation wall which surrounds the Occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank. It is a powerful reminder of the division which exists in the Holy Land, between Israelis and Palestinians as a result of the Israeli Occupation.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has recognised that the ongoing military occupation of Palestinian Territories by Israel and the resultant discrimination and systematic violations of human rights have an enormous impact on vulnerable communities, including Christians.

While serving with the WCCs Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) for two periods of three months in 2019 and 2022/23, I witnessed first-hand the impact on Palestinians, of Israeli Government policies as a result of the Occupation:

  • The frustration for thousands of Palestinians as they waited to pass through checkpoints every day, with regular delays experienced and uncertainty as to whether their permit would be accepted

  • The distress of a man whose almost completed new family home was demolished by the Israeli military because he had not obtained a building permit. This failure was because about 95% of applications for permits made by Palestinians, in areas controlled by Israel, are rejected

  • The discouragement of spending an hour or two driving on poorly maintained roads to enable entry from the West Bank into Jerusalem via a checkpoint while passing other well-maintained roads which bypassed checkpoints and were only for the use of Israeli settlers.

However, I also had the privilege of hearing from and supporting Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations which are opposed to the Occupation.

The World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WPPI), from 16th – 23rd September, encourages members of church communities:

  • To listen to the voices and repeated pleas of the churches and Christian communities of Palestine/Israel
  • To accompany them in prayer and action and reflect on a comprehensive solution for Palestine/Israel where all people have equal rights before the law, as opposed to the current systems of control, exclusion and discrimination.

Material, including reflections and prayers, for use in services during the WWPPI can be found on the World Council of Churches website here.

As a returned Ecumenical Accompanier I advocate for a just peace between Israel and Palestine and am happy to speak in worship services and to church and secular organisations. I can be contacted by email: Andrew Telfer, Turn on Javascript!.


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