Members of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales today supported a motion proposed by the Bishop of St Asaph on the situation in the Middle East.
Bishop Gregory Cameron brought the Private Members’ Motion to the meeting which is taking place at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter.
The motion, which was seconded by Dr Peter Pike, the Archdeacon of Montgomery and had one amendment (point four), was as follows:
That the Governing Body, while it opposes all killing and persecution, in particular:
– express its profound dismay at the deaths of very many hundreds of innocent Palestinians, including more than 400 children, in Gaza, and the expulsion of the entire Christian population of Mosul, Iraq, over the summer;
– affirm our solidarity in Christ with all our Christian sisters and brothers in the Middle East who face danger or persecution, and indeed with all who suffer in many different situations;
– call upon Israel as a democratic state to find ways to end any threats to its security without the killing of innocents in the future;
– call on spiritual leaders of Islam to confer their support for communities of different religions to live together peacefully;
– direct its Standing Committee in conjunction with the Church in Wales International Group to find practical ways to express and promote these sentiments with those in positions of power and political responsibility.
Bishop Gregory said, “There is no hatred of Israel or anti-Semitism in this motion, but there is a call to Israel to wake up and realise that while their security is a legitimate concern, it should never be secured through the sort of wasteful, careless, truly horrible collateral damage that they inflicted this summer. This is something that I can only condemn…..I think the time has come to say specifically to Israel – Come on, you’re not some sort of terrorist organisation, you’re a democratic state. We expect more of you than of the other side. Please, please, Israel, don’t do it again.”
He added, “ISIS attacks everyone, and not just Christians, everyone who disagrees in the smallest matters from the opinions of their self proclaimed Caliph. They have turned the virtual violence of computer games into real life atrocity. We need to say to our friends, to all people of peace: quite simply, we stand with you. We will not forget you in our prayers, we will not cease to bring your plight to the attention of our politicians.
“This motion is not intended as a political side-swipe or point-scoring, but simply in the name of the Prince of Peace.”