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Christian Aid Launches Gaza Resource

Tuesday July 2 2024

People queuing for aid in Gaza. Picture: Christian Aid


As the war in Gaza continues, a new set of online resources has been launched to help people speak more confidently about the situation in the Middle East.

Scottish church leaders have given their support to the initiative, from international development agency Christian Aid, saying ‘the cries and tears of our suffering sisters and brothers deserve our continued and continual attention’.

Christian Aid understands people may shy away from conversations about Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, seeing it as too difficult, controversial or uncomfortable. To combat this, the organisation has come up with a range of resources to help build people’s understanding and break the silence, through conversations about a just peace.

William Bell, Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy explained: “The lives of Israelis and Palestinians have been shaped by collective loss, trauma and fear, and the war in Gaza has demonstrated how urgently people in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory need a just peace. 

“Every day, ordinary Palestinians and Israelis stand up for dignity, equality and a just peace, often at great cost. We want to stand with them and encourage others to do the same.”

Christian Aid’s website now includes a section on finding out more about the charity’s campaign for a just peace.

People can download a booklet containing first-hand accounts of life in Israel and Gaza, the history behind the current situation and facts about the barriers to peace; a reflection from William Bell, on the urgent need for understanding and peace; and a report entitled ‘Where is Palestine? A story of loss, inequality and failure’ which provides a snapshot of the reality many Palestinians face daily across the occupied Palestinian territory.

There is also information on how people can join the call for a ceasefire in Gaza by lobbying decision makers and signing a petition, or hosting a screening of the film The Tinderbox; and details of the monthly Prayers for Peace in the Middle East gatherings, hosted by Christian Aid Scotland.

At this month’s gathering, at Augustine United Church, in Edinburgh, the organisation showed the Tinderbox film – a documentary by British-American filmmaker Gillian Mosely in which she visits Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory to examine the conflict from both sides.

Leaders from the Church of Scotland were invited, alongside The Friends of St Andrew’s Jerusalem and Tiberius, and Hadeel, a company which sells Fairtrade Palestinian products. Supporters also joined the gathering via virtual watch parties.

Head of Christian Aid Scotland Val Brown said: “We have been doing the Prayers for Peace events since about 2016 and were delighted to be screening The Tinderbox in Edinburgh with our church partners this month. Those able to be there in person enjoyed refreshments, courtesy of The Friends of St Andrew's Jerusalem and Tiberius, and were able to shop from Hadeel before the screening started. We also had more than 40 people join us online, including those who attended watch parties at Dunblane Cathedral and Langside Church.

“The Church of Scotland has long been involved with Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, having two churches, a guest house, a school and a hotel in the area, and works with a variety of partners, many of whom are also Christian Aid partners.”

Carol Finlay, Congregational Engagement Manager for International work of Church of Scotland said standing on the side of justice is important.

She added: “Being able to endorse new resources from a trustworthy source such as Christian Aid to support the understanding of the ongoing situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territory adds to our ability as individuals, congregations and presbyteries to engage with the current situation.

“In the ‘Just Peace’ resource we can see how we can make a difference through campaigning and prayerful support. The online format is clear and concise yet allows flexibility in its use. As individuals we often find it difficult to see how we can make a difference through our small actions but this resource gives opportunity for people’s voices and actions to join together to really make a difference.”

And the Very Rev Andrew McLellan, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, asked: “Are we in danger of becoming bored with, turned off by, the daily spread of dreadful news from Gaza? If we are, the right word would be 'unforgivable'. The cries and tears of our suffering sisters and brothers deserve our continued and continual attention. Thank God, then, for Christian Aid’s new campaign for ‘A Just Peace’. When we need help to learn, when we need help to act, when we need help to pray, ‘A Just Peace’ may be exactly the help we need. Indeed, ‘A Just Peace’ may turn us back from something unforgivable.”

To find out more click here.


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