The Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada says settlements “will guarantee strife forever”, calling for new dialogue partners “who seek an inclusive and just peace in the Middle East”.
Excerpted from the Charge to General Synod:
(Complete address at:
a c c w e b n e w s
The Anglican Church of Canada
Palestine and Israel
Two months ago, along with my Lutheran colleague Bishop Sartison, with
United Church Moderator Marion Pardy and two other delegates, I returned to
the Holy Land - a place that holds for us profound spiritual significance,
but which is experiencing profound sadness. We had gone at the request of
our partner churches, and our time was spent with them. On previous visits,
I had witnessed the plight of the Palestinian people in the Occupied
Territories, but never was it so destructive as I observed this time. The
present policies of establishment of settlements on occupied lands, in
defiance of international convention and United Nations resolutions, will
guarantee strife forever.
With our Canadian hosts from the Christian Peacemaker Teams (one of
since been arrested and beaten), we were confronted by an angry American
settler, whose hostility was more than palpable. We heard from our partner
Sabeel, an ecumenical centre for liberation theology, that security for one
cannot be achieved by creating insecurity and injustice for another. Our
partner churches and church-related organizations continue to struggle
against the occupation and all other forms of domination. Their persistent
articulation of the need for a just peace based on an inclusive formula of
mutual co-existence, and their work toward those ends in the face of sadness
and despair, is itself a source of tremendous hope. But our brothers and
sisters in the Holy Land are not only few and decreasing in number, they are
a double minority. As Palestinians, they are a minority in Israel or in the
territories where they endure the occupation, and as Christians they are a
minority among their Muslim compatriots. Our visit was to them, to be with
them and to pray with them in their difficulties.
A rabbi once asked his students to define when the dawn has come and
time for morning prayers. One suggested, "it is light when you can tell a
donkey from a horse. Another said, "When you can distinguish a fruit tree
from a fig tree." The rabbi turned away all their answers, and told them:
"When you can look into the face of every man and woman and see there the
face of your brother and sister, then it is light. All else is darkness".
Our partners have encouraged us to work with all who share their vision of
an inclusive and just peace, a vision that is apparent only in this light.
For years now, the Women in Black - a group of Israeli women - has witnessed
against the occupation each and every Friday. As part of a worldwide vigil
last month, an Israeli mother whose 10 year-old daughter was killed by a
suicide bomber addressed the Jerusalem group: "For me, the other side, the
enemy, is not the Palestinian people. For me the struggle is not between
Palestinians and Israelis, nor between Jews and Arabs. The fight is between
those who seek peace and those who seek war. My people are those who seek
peace." Our fundamental values as Christians call us to join as her people,
those who seek peace. We can do that by moving dialogue forward.
I think that one way to do that is to begin to seek dialogue partners
Canada from among Muslim, Jewish and Arab groups, who seek an inclusive and
just peace in the Middle East. Furthermore, we need to continue to work
ecumenically in Canada to strengthen our partnerships with the Jerusalem
churches. And finally, I invite you to join the Psalmist who bids you and
me: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem".
Archbishop Michael Peers
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, July 5, 2001