A major new report on Israel and the Palestinians designed for Anglicans, due to be launched in Dublin yesterday, says that Christians must take seriously the “particular place which the land of Israel and city of Jerusalem hold for Jewish people”.
The 76-page Land of Promise?, which examines Christian Zionism, affirms that Israel is an “established state” whose citizens have the right to live in security, peace and freedom.
But it also states that neither the Holy Land nor Jerusalem are the “exclusive possession” of any one community; that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have the right to live without military occupation or appropriation of land; and that Christians should not seek to support the re-establishment of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The report, the product of three years’ work, recognises that Anglicans may hold different views “with integrity” about some issues, including the status of Israel as a Jewish state, the moral duty to support Israel in the light of the Holocaust or whether there was an imperative for direct action in support of the Palestinians.
Jane Clements, of the Oxford-based Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine, said the report was “not a black-and-white document but reflects a true concern for all those living in the Holy Land. It also provides an excellent basis for engaging with issues from a Christian perspective.”
In an afterword, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams writes: “It is clear that no Christian can for a moment entertain the possibility that the Jewish people should ever again find themselves at the mercy of a genocidally hostile environment… Israel must be a place where there can never be any doubt that Jewish people are welcome and safe.
“But it is clear also that the maintenance of such safety at the cost of justice for others, at the cost of a perpetually anxious and militarised culture that cannot find room for the rights and dignities of neighbours, is a real danger to just that welcome and the safety that the state of Israel seeks to guarantee.”