Tag Archives: Israel

Tall concrete barrier topped by razor wire, set on the kerb of a street.

The Walls that Divide


I have been trying to understand what it is like to be a member of a minority faith in relation to the majority faith. Here Christians are a double minority—both among Jews and Muslims. Muslims are the majority in the Palestinian context, they in turn are the minority in the Israeli context (about 30%). By comparison, the Muslim population of the UK is reported to be about 4%. What one feels keenly as a small minority is the barriers that communities raise between each other.
In this, my last blog from Jerusalem, I consider the walls that are built by the various communities. The most obvious wall here, impossible to ignore, is the barrier built by the Israelis between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, but there are other walls, or barriers, that are not as visible or easily detectable, and which are just as impermeable.

Satirical cartoon with figure on wall by banner declaring 'United Jerusalem' as various skirmishes take place below

Return to Damascus Gate


The Damascus Gate continues to weigh heavily on my mind, as it has remained regularly in the news. In the past week there have been four more incidents. In two cases the attackers were shot dead; in the others a young woman and a young man were arrested.

In two weeks, six attacks, six dead, at the end of the very street where my church is located.

These, however, were only part of the almost daily incidents taking place in the West Bank. I call them incidents because they are hard to label. Some may involve armed men with clear intent to kill many people. Others seem opportunistic and random, such as driving cars into pedestrians. So many, however, are young people with common kitchen knives lashing out at highly armed police and soldiers.

An red ambulance being searched by soldiers in green uniform, behind concrete barriers

Jerusalem: roadblocks, mental maps and the “Third Intifada”


For most Christians the mental map of Israel is that of the time of Christ. Those who come on pilgrimage, or as part of studies, tend to look at the experience with that biblical map in mind as the focus is on the places where Jesus walked, or where Old Testament events took place.
Orthodox believers move from church to church. It is possible to spend two weeks in Israel and live altogether in the past. For others the present reality will come as a shock—sprawling cities, traffic jams, and fast-food jostle alongside holy places crowded with the thousands of pilgrims all seeking the connection with the ancient stories and events.
Events have re-written my mental maps over the years.

Israel-Palestine and the Clash of Domination


Salim Munayer

Salim Munayer, director of Musalaha (Arabic for ‘Reconciliation’), working for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, spoke of a ‘clash of domination’ to which the Christian response reflects our beliefs for all creation—that is, a call to a redeemed creation, and positive transformation in Christ. He challenged the Western Church’s tendency to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a ‘failure to be witness to the glory of God’, and to seek reconciliation. In agreement with Accad regarding the effect Western actions have on the Church in the Middle East, Munayer added that the way to reconciliation is inherently a political undertaking, and this cannot be escaped. He offered four challenges to the Church (not just the West)