Reports, Agendas & Minutes

LICHFIELD CONCERN FOR PALESTINE GROUP

‘I give you naught for your comfort, naught for your desire, save that the night grows darker and the sea rises higher’. (GK Chesterton)

The Lichfield Concern for Palestine Group was formed in 2012 by a group of people who were concerned about the deepening crisis in Israel/Palestine and the increasingly desperate plight of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. This was highlighted by a document published in 2009 by a group of Palestinian Church leaders and endorsed by all the major Christian denominations in the Holy Land. It was entitled ‘A Moment of Truth’ and became known as the ‘Kairos Document’. Challenging the mistaken assumption that ‘all Palestinians are Muslims’, we were keen to emphasise the presence of a small (and rapidly diminishing) Christian community who were calling us ’to hear our cry of hope in the absence of all hope’ . Our numbers have grown; we have a mailing list of around 100 and a group which meets regularly to plan activities – the purpose of which is a) to raise awareness in the churches and the general public of the rights of Palestinians to freedom and to highlight this as one of the major justice issues of our time, for which Britain has a particular responsibility and b) to support the call from Palestinian civil society for non-violent resistance – to bring to an end the Occupation of Palestinian land by the state of Israel, the perpetuation of which is illegal under international law.

We have developed a ’friendship link’ with a Palestinian town near Ramallah and members of the group are regular visitors to the region. Over the years we have shown films and invited speakers on a regular basis and we are arranging a major ‘Celebrate Palestine’ weekend in May of next year. We seek to keep ourselves informed about a rapidly worsening situation. A sign of just how serious this has become, is the publication of a letter signed by 14 highly respected and critically involved agencies which was recently published in the weekly newsnotes of the Cathedral.* This letter points to US policies which constitute a radical departure from the international consensus, disenfranchising the Palestinian people of their land and rights in clear disregard of the rule of law. The letter speaks of an ‘escalating emergency’ and is clearly addressed to the UK government. But the time has come for the churches, Christians, the ordinary people of this country to make choices; to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle to end Occupation - a choice for justice which is the only guarantee of a lasting peace for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Michael Hawkes (secretary Lichfield Concern for Palestine Group)

*(including) CAFOD; Christian Aid, Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (UK and Ireland); Embrace the Middle East; Quakers in Britain; Medical Aid for Palestinians; War on Want.

For further information please email hawkes.madiba@btinternet.com

 


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