One can hardly believe amidst all the natural disasters which bring so much grief and heartache in the world and especially at present to the people of China and Burma, that the weight of pain and grief is constantly added to by human folly. This weekend’s announcement by the Israeli government that they plan to build 900 homes in East Jerusalem is hardly the action of those who are thirsting for peace.
I am constantly drawn back to the young Palestinian scouts and guides whom we encountered in Manger Square in Bethlehem on our pilgrimage last year. They were demonstrating in their thirst for peace – “we deserve peace” they kept telling us as we mingled amongst them and their passionate thirst for it came through. Peace in the Holy Land will always be elusive until their is a thirst for peace and justice on both sides.
The future for peace is very bleak whist there is a government in Israel which is prepared to build houses in one of the most contentious parts Jerusalem. On the pilgrimage I am planning for next February (2009) we will have an opportunity to offer our prayers and support to the peoples of this troubled land.
The work of Sabeel – The Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem makes a vital contribution to mediating for peace. The Friends of Sabeel in the UK provides a good way for us to support and encourage a thirst for peace in the land which cradled the Gospel of Peace.