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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Israel, Palestine, and the World Council of Churches.

My regular copy of Life & Work (the Church of Scotland's monthly magazine) arrived with the post this morning.  In spite of the fact that I have not been an official C.of S. minister for almost 35 years, it started arriving a few years back, and has done so ever since.  I'm not sure that it will be sent to France when we move there - but we shall see!

Usually, I tend to read only the parts that interest me - the deaths, retirals, and demissions (an increasing number of those known to me fall into the first of those categories!); the Letters pages; and the offerings of one or two of the regular contributors.  However, in this edition, I noticed a headline in the World News pages: "Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners", and stopped to read!  It was a brief article which I reproduce here (in the hope that it is acceptable to do so without written permission. I am assuming that with the annual meeting of the Kirk, in General Assembly, taking place this week, the editor will have more important fish to fry!).

"Observing Palestinian Prisoners' Day on April 17th, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary expressed solidarity with 5000 Palestinian men, women, and children languishing in Israeli jails.
In an open letter to the WCC's members, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said: 'As people of faith, we are called to pray for, visit, and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention.  For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past.
We were disappointed when the government of Israel cancelled the scheduled release of prisoners who have been in Israeli jails [since] even before the Oslo Agreement of 1993', he added."

The Reverend Doctor ought, perhaps, to use his undoubted intelligence, and research skills, to probe a little further into the situation before automatically assuming that the Israeli Government are the 'bad guys', and that the Palestinians are all as pure as the driven snow!  That cancellation of a scheduled release of prisoners was not an arbitrary move.

It was a response to the lack of progress made in the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations, or any meaningful concessions on the Palestinian side.

It was a response to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas who, while – with the support of the Arab League – is adamant in his refusal to recognize the Jewish state, but has been demanding a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, and the freeing of terrorists, as a precondition for merely continuing the talks.

It was a response to the comment by PA Central Committee Member Tawfiq Tirawi who, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch, stated on official PA television that the negotiations are merely 'one of the methods of struggle. But the rifle is here, and it can burst forth at any moment.'

It was a response to the PA's President's receiving of released prisoners, with blood on their hands, as heroes!

Of course, the Kirk showed, at the last General Assembly, that it has little support for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but prefers to support the Philistines.  Perhaps it fits in well with the WCC!

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