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Peace Not Walls

Join the World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel Sept. 22-28

Grafitti from the Separation Barrier

Graffiti from the Separation Wall near Bethlehem.

The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches invites member churches, faith-based communities, and civil society organizations to join together in 2013 for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel. Congregations and individuals around the globe who share the hope of justice shall unite during the week to take peaceful actions, together, to create a common international public witness.

The theme of the week in 2013 is: “Jerusalem, the city of justice and peace.”

As part of the most recent World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, from 28 May to 3 June 2012, churches in at least 25 countries around the world sent a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples.

During World Week for Peace 2013, participants will organize and join in events and activities around the following three principles:

1. Praying with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem and other worship resources prepared for the week. Note that Tuesday of this week falls on  Sept 24, the date of the monthly prayer vigil called for by ACT Palestine. 
2. Educating about actions that make for peace, and about facts on the ground that do not create peace, especially issues related to the city of Jerusalem.
3. Advocating with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

Find more information and resources at the PIEF webpage, including:

• The Jerusalem Prayer from the Churches in Jerusalem
• The liturgy “Jerusalem, the City of Justice and Peace,” written by Palestinian Christian laity and clergy for Sunday 22 September
• Proposed common action and advocacy for Sunday 22 September, based on the theme: “To pray, you need a military permit!”
• A resource on Jerusalem created by our international working group, with information, theological reflections, and advocacy suggestions for each day of the Week
• Testimonials from the Wall Museum near Rachel’s Tomb, a project of the Sumud Story House of the Arab Educational Institute
• A policy paper on Jerusalem, published March 2013 by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung office in East Jerusalem

Jewish, Christian and Muslim Leaders United In Support of Secretary of State Kerry’s Peace Initiative

NEWSPeace-is-PossibleIn a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry this week, thirty key Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders “voiced strong support for his determined initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace.”  In similar letters, the leaders called on key members of Congress “to support Secretary Kerry’s continuing urgent efforts for peace.”

The group, including ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, represented The National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for the Middle East.  Inspired by the Abrahamic traditions,  a similar group met in January, 2013, declaring “twilight has fallen on hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace.”  They called for “a bold new initiative for a two-state solution before it’s too late.”

The religious leaders warmly welcomed Secretary Kerry’s announcement a week ago of an agreement “that establishes the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.” Appreciating the progress made in earlier formal and informal negotiations toward resolving final status issues, the religious leaders noted that “while these talks have yet to yield a blueprint for peace, they have identified ideas for addressing key issues that must be resolved in a manner acceptable to both sides.”

The Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders offered their prayers for Secretary Kerry’s efforts and pledged that they “are prepared through the national organizations we represent to activate members of synagogues, churches and mosques across the country to support bold American leadership for peace.”

“We know the path to peace is complex and challenging,” the leaders said, “but peace is possible.”

Read the full letters below: