Provincial Synod

Peace in the Middle East

The following motivation for the Synod resolution on Peace in the Middle East was presented by the Right Revd Luke Pretorius, Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist, who seconded the resolution:

It is my understanding that in the matter of Israel and Palestine many have taken sides. They are either for Palestine and against Israel or are for Israel and against everyone else.

The situation is however far more vexed and complex that which can be decided by a taking of sides; of drawing a line in the sand and demanding that people join you on your side of the line.

I support this motion, because it does not deny the observable fact that people are suffering and that human right’s abuses have and are taking place, nor does this motion present a simple solution by blaming one or the other; I support this motion because it strives to take seriously the wisdom of listening to all sides, of prayer and reflection, and of then being led to an opinion which is far more considered and based on the requirement of justice for all – and which therefore would be willing to point fingers at all involved in this violence and human rights’ abuses.

The risk of taking this course of exploration of the situation, of listening and querying and of prayer, is that it is slower and that those suffering are thereby expected to suffer longer while we do our thinking.

I have no easy answer to this valid criticism, except to suggest that it is our inaction to date which is more to blame rather than the proposal contained in this motion being at fault. I would rather do the right thing slowly than ‘take sides’ quickly having been led by any group opinion simply to show my support for justice.

It is, Your Grace and members of Synod, for these reasons I support this motion. I yearn for peace and justice; I yearn to be educated on the matters affecting he Middle East so that I may arrive at a considered opinion which permits me to care for all the oppressed and challenge all oppressors without fear or favour or bias which fails to recognise there may be wrong on both sides.

This motion calls us as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to be peace-makes and bridge-builders through drawing together different religious and social communities in order to learn from one another, to hear their experiences and to acknowledge their fears. To creating an open space to listen and learn and facilitate the true Peace and Shalom of God.

I thank you.

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