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“Olive trees are holy signs of peace, older than anyone”

In a mood of hope, solidarity and compassion, the WCC olive harvest initiative continued on Wednesday with a live-streamed public webinar, addressing cultural, socio-economic and spiritual aspects of the olive harvest season in the Holy Land, as well as highlighting the impact of the continuing military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

 

Olive harvest initiative reaffirms commitment to justice and peace in the Holy Land

Olive trees know neither religious nor territorial boundaries and bear fruit even under occupation. With the annual olive harvest season commencing, the WCC launches a global initiative this week, highlighting the spiritual, economic and cultural importance of the olive harvest for Palestinian communities, and witnessing to the impact of the occupation.

Reflection explores humanity, equality in God’s creation

As the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel commenced, Nora Carmi offered a morning reflection at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 16 September. Carmi is a civil society worker on justice and peace issues who is from the Orthodox community.

World Week for Peace highlights humanity and equality

Under the theme “Humanity and equality in God’s creation”, people of faith all over the world are encouraged to bear common witness by gathering in prayer and acts of support during the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel. This yearly manifestation of solidarity and hope takes place 15 – 22 September and as usual it includes the International Day of Peace on 21 September.

Dr Saïd Ailabouni: God is on the side of rejected, oppressed, occupied

Born in Nazareth, Galilee, Rev. Dr Saïd Ailabouni moved to the US at the age of 19 to become a physician. But he was so angry at God that he went to study theology instead, becoming a Lutheran pastor. Now he is leading the Middle East & Europe desk of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Since leaving his hometown 50 years ago, he visits his Palestinian family regularly. As the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel approaches, Ailabouni agreed to share some of his lifetime observations with the Word Council of Churches.

WCC to UN: Human rights violations in West Bank, East Jerusalem must stop

In a letter co-addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations special rapporteur on situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory, the World Council of Churches expressed concern over the high rates of human rights violations and violence currently taking place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Demolitions in Wadi-Al-Hummus “catastrophe for community”

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel is reporting that nine homes in Wadi-Al-Hummus have been demolished, with at least two families forcibly removed from their homes, as observed by Ecumenical Accompaniers on site. Over 100 families were removed altogether and prior to the demolitions.

Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud honored with International Religious Freedom Award

Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud, leader of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process, has received an International Religious Freedom Award from the US Department of State. The awards “honor extraordinary advocates of religious freedom from around the world” and will be presented on 17 July in Washington, D.C.

US consultation on Middle East reaffirms “persistent hope” for peace

WCC News spoke to Rev. Douglas Leonard, coordinator of the Ecumenical United Nations Office and World Council of Churches (WCC) representative to the United Nations in New York, after attending a summit in Washington D.C. that brought together some 45 representatives of churches and faith-based organizations committed to developing an advocacy plan that responds to the current political situation in the Holy Land.

WCC statement reiterates call for just peace in Palestine and Israel

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee, in a statement, reiterated its call for a just peace in Israel and Palestine. “That commitment is part of the fabric of our faith, and of the heritage of the ecumenical movement,” reads the statement. "We seek to express it by accompanying the churches, interfaith partners and communities of these lands in their witness and work for justice and for peace.”

With continuous presence and just peace at heart

“Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to love, and may peace be in our hearts,” said Rev. Gabrielle Zander from the Augusta Victoria Church in an opening word of prayer, as participants in the WCC-EAPPI gathered in Saint Anne’s Basilica in Jerusalem in mid-April.

‘Not a page in a book’ – accompaniers hear Palestinians’ testimonies from Ma’alul village

Ma’alul, a Palestinian village destroyed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, saw a visit by ecumenical accompaniers in mid-March. “I would have liked to invite you to a real home, not just as a refugee,” said Jad Saba Yusef Salem as he received the group of accompaniers to the village. Today, 95-year-old Salem is one of few remaining survivors from the 75 families who used to live in the village back in 1948.