When Palestinian Bishop Munib Younan talks about the thirst, he links it with a quest for justice in both Palestine and Israel.
“The water crisis in Palestine cannot be solved until there is justice. Water and justice issues are intertwined in my community,” says Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
The Seven Weeks for Water campaign in 2016 has special significance for him, as this year it focused on a pilgrimage of water justice in the Middle East, with specific reference to Palestine.
Bishop Younan notes that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is a cause of injustice, because Israeli and Palestinian communities have vastly differing access to water.
The core to solving the water crisis in Palestine is ending the Israeli occupation and implementing a two-state solution, in which the two peoples of the land live side-by-side in justice, peace, and reconciliation.
The international urgency for a solution has recently come to a head, says the bishop, due to the situation in places such as Syria and Iraq.
Younan has offices in East Jerusalem and has vast experience working in an interfaith arena with both Israelis and Palestinians.
“We respect the Jews and the Jewish people, but we want the occupation to end,” he says.
He sees the quest for justice as strongly in the interests of both peoples. The bishop would like more investment in Palestine and more tourists coming to stay in the West Bank during their Holy Land visits, so there can be economic growth.
Yet Younan feels the tension from increased violence on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
“There is frustration on both sides. People are asking if we will continue to see more extremism and violence in our region.”
“The Palestinian-Israeli problem is the core problem of the Middle East. Solving it will solve many other problems,” says Bishop Younan.
WCC campaign Seven Weeks for Water: www.oikoumene.org/7-weeks-for-water
WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace: www.oikoumene.org/pilgrimage