"Israeli occupation puts strain on Palestinian Christians"--WCC Living Letters delegation

"Israeli occupation puts strain on Palestinian Christians"--WCC Living Letters delegation

By Emma Halgren

Churches around the world must speak out and act for justice in Israel and Palestine, church leaders told members of an ecumenical delegation visiting the region from 7 to 14 March.

Members of the delegation – a Living Letters team visiting on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC) – learned of the many ways in which churches in the region cooperate to provide social services and advocate for peace and justice. But as the already low Palestinian Christian population continues to dwindle, and life becomes increasingly difficult for Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation, the work of churches is coming under strain, and support is desperately needed, the delegation was told.

"Living Letters" are small international ecumenical teams travelling to locations around the world where Christians strive to overcome violence. Their goal is to express the solidarity of the ecumenical family and learn how people are dealing with the challenges that face them.

Throughout the week the delegation met with local church leaders Patriarch Theophilus III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Rev. Robert Edmunds, representative to the Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani in Jerusalem.

The leaders told the group that many factors were contributing to the high rates of emigration of Palestinian Christians, and to the suffering of Palestinian people as a whole.

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