World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC programmes / Humanity and Equality in God’s Creation

Humanity and Equality in God’s Creation

Reflection by Nora Carmi for WCC morning prayers - World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel 2019

19 September 2019


Reflection for WCC morning prayers - World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel 2019

Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, 16 September 2019
By Nora Carmi

This is a very noble theme in a world that is almost void of both principles. If today we still have to talk about values supported by religions and international laws, we must have been propagating false methods of understanding the Creation of God which has led to dehumanization and inequality around the globe!  Where are we today from: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah: 2).

However, I will not dwell on this larger context since the World Week of Prayer for Palestine and Israel was initiated by the WCC to try and bring a just peace in a land where co-living and co-loving would be the concrete example of doing the will of God, and becomes a tangible model of humanity and equality for the rest of the world.  In the words of WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, “this year’s theme has a special immediacy in the context of the Israeli-Palestine conflict and the unfulfilled search for sustainable peace, based on the recognition of the inalienable human rights of all people in the region.” Thank you. I can spend a few minutes to point out the not-so-accurate terms that are far from being prophetic, but, at this instance, I am here as a Palestinian Christian who has worked closely for several years with the teams choosing the themes and preparing the services that were held in different countries and continents around the International Day of Peace (21 September). In Palestine, a local committee has consciously held special occasions, even when the general atmosphere of despair has decreased the number of participants. The challenge still remains to love God, neighbour and one’s enemy, where in our case,  the neighbour and the enemy are the same.

In an area where there is not one state, the situation is not simple and we need to apply humanity and equality within and beyond the existing entities on the same ground.  Where are we from all these aspirations today? We are farther from a just peace when the Israeli occupation “a sin against God and humanity” has not been removed yet and when all oppressive measures continue against educational, environmental, archeological and religious sites; when the number of demolished homes and villages has increased and when human beings are tortured, incarcerated and eliminated.   Even dead, some bodies are not handed back for respectable burials.

Tomorrow, the so-called democratic state of Israel goes to elections! The outcome is hazy and unclear unless there is a miracle or divine intervention, but the results cannot promise a better future for Jewish ethnic groups considered as “lesser” or the “Israeli” Arabs who have experienced so many setbacks since the Jewish Nation State Law in 2017.  There are no equal rights for all Israeli citizens unless they are Jewish nationals and even those who dare oppose the government policies are punished.

In Palestine, we are shocked and lost after the Trump-led decision of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by moving it to Jerusalem and thus changing its internationally recognized status. (For the first time in my life, Last July, I was denied a visa by the American embassy/consulate.) The US has also encouraged and supported the annexation of the Golan Heights to Israel and now the possible annexation of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. Who is ruling the land?

Despite the recognition of 139 countries of the State of Palestine, we are enduring Israeli interference and have not achieved our aspirations for an independent state. We also have our grievances and demands from our own government for a clearer vision, solid decisions, equal gender rights and humane treatment of prisoners. We need elections and the activation of the legislative council, and to enforce severe laws and actions to combat crime and to achieve security for all.

In these hard times, we cry out: How long O Lord?

1. We have to accept each other as human beings and seek partners (even on the other side and internationals for joint actions together eg. (The circle of bereaved families, combatants for peace, breaking the silence, and others)

2. Demand international bodies to stop beautiful but shallow statements like the last European one about possible annexation of the Jordan Valley. We need prayerful actions not talk. Thank you for your concern but without action where would it lead us? Kindly stop addressing “all” parties, the innocent and those violating the laws as one. Have the courage to name the culprit and make him/her accountable.

3. We, Palestinians, have committed ourselves to stand steadfast in non-violence even when we are met with state terror by Israel eg. (The Gaza Great March of Return for over 18 months)

This year the Palestinians will commemorate on 12 September 21st the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel at the wall surrounding houses in Bethlehem. The Arab Educational Institute and the Sumood house have arranged a programme entitled: The wall is a denial of God’s Creation supported by Pax Christi international.

Let us remember them and all who will be praying all over the world.

Almighty loving and healing God

We confess that we have not taken care of your beautiful creation.

Help us restore lost humanity and equality so that all can love in dignity and “keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters,”  for only love can eradicate injustice and do the will of God.

[1] Five leading European powers issued a joint statement late Thursday condemning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, saying it would be “a serious breach of international law.”

“France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom are deeply concerned about the announcement of a possible annexation of areas in the West Bank, particularly the Jordan valley and the northern shore of the Dead Sea,”