Churches take action to bring peace in Palestine and Israel

Around the world next week, churches will take part in a wide range of activities to help end the 60-year conflict between Palestinians and Israel.

Seminary students in Brazil will debate the conflict over the Holy Land, while Canadian, Australian, Norwegian, British and French citizens contact their lawmakers as part of an effort led by World Council of Churches to pray, educate and advocate for peace between the two long-time foes.

This year’s events for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, June 4 to 10, will focus particularly on Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, which is illegal under international law.

In Scotland, parishioners, parliamentarians and a Palestinian legislator plan to meet for an advocacy event in Edinburgh where they will have to walk around a full-sized image of the Wall, a barrier that divides the West Bank from Israel, before entering the church.

In France, church groups have joined a civil society campaign for Palestinian rights focused on candidates in the upcoming June 4 election for the European Parliament.

Directors of church-related aid agencies will also be visiting Israeli and Palestinian partner organisations.

Churches and related organisations in more than 20 countries will take part in the action week.

During that week, peace prayers will be read aloud near settlements, at demolished homes, at checkpoints, in refugee camps, and in parishes and schools in the West Bank and Gaza. WCC invites individuals and congregations to send personal prayers for peace to Bethlehem via email.

In addition to advocacy, another goal of the week is to counter misinformation about conflict-related problems such as tourism and theology regarding the “Promised Land”. Norwegian organisations have planned educational seminars to examine these contentious issues.

The highlight of World Week for Peace will be an ecumenical service sponsored by the heads of churches in Jerusalem on June 7.

Other countries that will be holding events for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel include the Philippines, South Africa, Ireland and the United States.

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