Israel-Palestine conflict: “We must not be silent.”

Published: Tuesday October 17, 2023

Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of GloucesterIn our diocesan Bulletin I wrote of the danger of seeing the world through a simple binary lens, and I included the situation in Israel-Palestine.

The details of the evil unleashed by Hamas on the people of Southern Israel on Saturday 7 October has come ever more into view, and it has been heart-wrenching to read people’s accounts of the slaughter, injury and hostage-taking which took place as the Jewish festival of Sukkot drew to a close. We must not be silent.

I have been glad to be in supportive contact with Jewish brothers and sisters from the Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation as well as the Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community. One only has to visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Centre in Jerusalem to see the stark reality of the almost unspeakable anti-Semitic hatred and suffering of the past which has been so strongly awakened in recent days. Jewish friends and colleagues locally, in Parliament, and across the UK have told me of their fear and pain and that of their families and friends here and in Israel, during what one person has named as their darkest of days.

I also continue to raise my hands and voice to decry the suffering of children, women and men in the occupied Palestinian territories, not least as I remember visits in recent years to Israel-Palestine. As the horror of the current situation in Gaza continues to unfold, I cry out against the injustice of yet more innocent people bearing the cost of the evil inflicted by Hamas.

I echo the plea of Archbishop Justin, alongside other international leaders, for the Israeli government to ‘exercise their right of defence with the wisdom that might break the cycles of violence under which generations have struggled’. I have also echoed the plea for mercy, not least for the Anglican-run Al Ahli hospital in Gaza and have added some words to a post from Richard Sewell, The Dean of St George’s College in Jerusalem.

May we raise our voices to call for peace and for the violence to end. There are people of difference standing together to do the same across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. And let us not forget our Christian brothers and sisters in Israel-Palestine, praying that amid their own suffering, fear and grief, they will be light in the darkness. Which brings me to a binary I will affirm as I cry out for the light of Christ to banish the darkness of hatred as I rage against it.

I commend the prayer resources of Embrace the Middle East:

including this simple YouTube resource, and I end with these words from a past Christian Aid prayer:

Pray not for Arab or Jew, for Palestinian or Israeli,
but pray rather for ourselves,
that we might not divide them in our prayers
but keep them both together in our hearts.

+ Rachel




3 thoughts on “Israel-Palestine conflict: “We must not be silent.”

  1. “As the horror of the current situation in Gaza continues to unfold, I cry out against the injustice of yet more innocent people bearing the cost of the evil inflicted by Hamas.”
    I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable. A Palestinian life has as much value as an Israeli one, and while I echo the horror of the current situation in Gaza, the evil is currently being inflicted by the Israelis, not Hamas.
    It is inhuman, even barbaric, for them to
    A) shut off all water, food, power and fuel from the population of the whole of Gaza while not letting anyone escape by closing the crossings into Israel and bombing the crossing into Egypt so the Egyptians are, not unreasonably, not prepared to man them;
    B) insist on over a million people to evacuate northern Gaza along designated routes and then bomb those routes;
    C) bomb one of the main hospitals causing 500 deaths and over 1000 injuries.
    We have so stand up to the Israeli over-reaction and breaking of international law just as strongly as we condemn the same things when done by Hamas.

    1. A) Israel shut off water, power and fuel so as to frustrate and hinder further Hamas terrorism.
      B) Even the anti-Israel BBC are unsure about the attack. So it’s a bit rash to accuse Israel of responsibility.
      C) The hospital strike has been clearly documented as being down to misfiring of Hamas rockets.

      There is this naive belief that all the Palestinian people are innocent bystanders. Whilst it is true that there are many innocent Palestinian people, it is also equally true that Hamas could not operate within the Gaza Strip without the knowledge and support of the Palestinian people. You get what you vote for and you suffer the consequences. If the Palestinian people don’t want to be attacked by the IDF then they should not support the terrorist Hamas organisation.

  2. To hear the news and see the suffering is so upsetting. We really need more of us to pray.

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