THIS EASTER, church leaders across the UK are being urged by the international development charity Christian Aid to stand with the Palestinian and Israeli people in building a just peace.

Since the beginning of 2022, more than 270 Palestinians and more than 30 Israelis have been killed due to escalating violence. Christian Aid warned in their report, Where is Palestine?, that the deep inequalities between Palestinians and Israelis threaten a further escalation of violence and loss of life if left unaddressed.

In a bid to galvanise action for peace among church leaders in the UK, more than 1,000 olive trees have been planted, one for each member of the General Synod and the Methodist Conference. Trees have also been planted for the Archbishop of Canterbury and other prominent church leaders. And every UK Member of Parliament has had a tree sponsored by Christian Aid.

In an Easter card to church leaders, the Chief Executive of Christian Aid Patrick Watt explains that olive trees are often mentioned in the Bible as “a source of basic livelihood and a symbol of peace.”

The olive trees, located in the Bethlehem area of the occupied Palestinian territory, have been planted by Palestinian farmers. The project, led by Christian Aid’s partners East Jerusalem YMCA and the YWCA of Palestine are part of the Keep Hope Alive action for a peaceful future in Palestine for all.

Christian Aid is urging churches to support the Investing for Peace Campaign, which includes reviewing their investments and pension funds to ensure they do not invest directly or indirectly in firms that profit from occupation.

William Bell, Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy at Christian Aid, explained: “Violence, poverty and despair dominate so much of everyday life for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory. The symbolic power of hope that comes with planting an olive tree should not be underestimated. It demonstrates a steadfastness of people determined to stay on their land.

“By gifting these trees, Christian Aid urges Church Leaders across the UK to stand with these farmers to build a just peace for all Palestinian and Israeli people.”

* Read the report Where is Palestine? here.

* Source: Christian Aid