Bishop says civil society is the key to unlocking peace in Israel/Palestine

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It’s hard not to feel a little cynical when you read this report. As an Anglican myself I can testify to the fact that our church has a sad history of making insipid statements on critical issues and this pronouncement from the Bishop of Bath appears to be sadly consistent with that history.

The Bishop’s statement seems to imply that all that stands in the way of peace is a little more goodwill between Israelis and Palestinians – a naive view that overlooks completely the way in which successive Israeli and US governments have sabotaged every potential peace plan for almost a generation!

It would be nice if goodwill were sufficient to establish a long-term peace between Israel and Palestine. Unfortunately it also requires a willingness on the part of the politicians involved to make genuine concessions – something that the Netanyahu government has shown no interest in doing.

Father Dave


Israel and Palestine must seek peace – bishop

The Bishop of Bath & Wells has spoken of his hope for long-term peace in the Holy Land following a recent trip to the region.

Addressing the House of Lords, Bishop Peter Price said civil society was “key to unlocking peace” between Israel and Palestine.

“Peace is the prize that all must seek for the welfare of generations of children growing up against the backdrop of uncertainty and fear,” he said.

Bishop Price made the visit as part of a delegation led by Christian Aid that also included the Bishop of Worcester.

He said the recent ceasefire between Israel and Gaza offered “hope for some measure of peace” and that US President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit could open up non-violent solutions.

“What is hopeful is an increasing sense among the young that this situation cannot last forever,” he said.

During his visit, Bishop Price met Palestinian children taking part in a post-conflict trauma group.

He was moved by their dreams to become doctors, lawyers and teachers when they grow up.

“What kind of humanity leaves behind a child – any child – unable to hold onto its future?” he said.

“I am not seeking to make a partisan point here but a humanitarian one.

“Unless we can see in the eyes of the other the same human identity that is in ourselves, we risk only demonising the other.”

An evening of prayer and meditation is being held at Lady Chapel at Wells Cathedral next Tuesday, during which the bishop will talk about his visit.

The cathedral will host a Christian Aid photography exhibition until 3 March displaying work by young people in Gaza involved in campaigning against child labour.

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February 26, 2013

Jimmy @ 11:11 am #

Inisipid perhaps, but I’m not sure how a big, brash, provoking statement about the on-going peace process would instill, what appears to me to be, the necessary grace and mutual understanding that everyone must employ.

Anyone who has met with Bishop Peter or knows of his committed work towards peace and reconciliation will realise there is nothing cynical about this report.

Peter Price became Bishop of Bath and Wells in 2002 and a member of the House of Lords in 2008 where he takes particular interest in international aid and foreign affairs. For many years Bishop Peter has been active in issues of reconciliation, contributing to peace-making in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Zimbabwe. In 2011 he was able to revisit friends in El Salvador, including one Bishop he was instrumental in saving from execution 20 years ago.

As the Bishop said in his closing statement to the House of Lords:

“Wherever one looks, whether at Israeli or Palestinian children, one sees both beauty and vulnerability. Throughout the region they fall under the weight of war, corruption and human anguish, waiting for someone to pay attention. May this debate be a contribution towards that paying of attention, as we remember the words of the Jewish thinker Spinoza:

‘Sed omnia praeclara tam difficilia, quam rara sunt’.

Everything that is great is as rare to find as it is difficult to do.”

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