Earlier this week, a meeting took place at Lambeth Palace in London between key representatives from the Church of England, the Catholic Church as well as the Church of Scotland on the one hand and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his delegation on the other.
Palestine remains politically inert despite the artificial fireworks of a UN application for statehood or membership of UNESCO, observes Dr Harry Hagopian. So why is Palestine faced with such a thunderous crime of silence? After all, over the past year, we have been witnessing popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa region. Where is the disconnect here?
To the extent that the Palestinians avoid military confrontation with Israel, it will be difficult for Israel to find a pretext to deport masses of people. Moral restraint, anticipation of rage of 1.5 million Muslims, and world opinion will not allow unprovoked ethnic cleansing, says Ghassan Michel Rubeiz. Force should not be used to draw borders, displace people and forge national identity.
Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashal met in Cairo recently to try to resolve their differences. The outcome is not totally clear yet, says commentator Ghassan Michel Rubeiz. But what is certain is that it will take more than handshaking and an embrace for Palestinians to settle their deep divisions.
The UNESCO motto proclaims proudly that it stands for “Building peace in the minds of men and women”. In a world where ethics are sorely wanting and need reconstruction, and where local issues are interlocked with regional ones, Dr Harry Hagopian hopes that Palestine will be seen as contributing toward this lofty ideal and not digressing from it, let alone being coerced to detract from it.
The new statement from the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the Geneva-based WCC General Secretary, commenting on the Palestinian bid for statehood - as well as the news that 1,100 new housing units will be built in the illegal Gilo settlement - makes interesting reading (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15457).