The Prime Minister of the Autonomous Palestinian Territories, Dr Salam Fayyad, resigned on the 13th of May, 2013. As I regret this very much, I offer the following news item and interview of March 2012, when I greated Dr Fayyad in Bethlehem. In the next blogs I will offer my speech given at that time in Bethlehem and a longer interview given on the situation of the Holy Land.
World Evangelical Alliance supports Peace Talks in the Holy Land
(Bonner Querschnitte 201, 7/2012, March 25, 2012) In his welcoming speech to the Prime Minister of the Autonomous Palestinian Territories, Dr Salam Fayyad, upon the occasion of the opening of the conference “Christ at the Checkpoint,” the Chairman of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance called upon evangelicals not to deepen the trenches in the Holy Land but rather to demonstrate that evangelicals are able to accomplish reconciliation and peace across all boundaries. “If we are not able to do that among ourselves, where everything that is fundamental is what we have in common,” according to Schirrmacher, “then how can a fragmented Christianity establish peace here locally, and how can peace be managed where Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists are jointly seeking a political solution?” If Jesus’ command to love one’s enemies cannot be put into practice among evangelicals and Christians, then its beneficial impact can hardly unfurl among people who are real enemies and even armed ones.
That Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians as well as Christians of the most varied eschatological positions were coming together for discussions could temporarily even intensify the contention, according to Schirrmacher. This is often the case when positions are placed directly on the table in direct discussions. However, it is not only the sole practical way to come closer but rather to also revise age-old positions.
Within the framework of the conference there was a strategic meeting between Schirrmacher and the chairman of the association of all evangelical churches in the Autonomous Palestinian Territories. This group runs under the leadership of the Chairman of the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land, Dr. Munir Salim Kakish. He is also a pastor in Ramallah.
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has Harm Tees situated at the city wall in Jerusalem as WEA Ambassador to the Holy Land. In addition to Tees, the Director of the WEA Peace and Reconciliation Initiative, Steve Tollestrup of New Zealand, was also present at the conference. Aside from that, the Chairman of the WEA International Council, Dr. Sang-Book David Kim of Korea, gave an address.
Prior thereto, Schirrmacher, along with his wife and Islamic scholar Prof. Christine Schirrmacher and the leadership team of the Martin Bucer Seminary, had visited the Temple Mount and its mosque with the permission of Jerusalem’s Islamic waqf authorities and the Mufti of Jerusalem. At the moment this permission is only very rarely given.
Against the background of an archaeological study trip involving the Martin Bucer Seminary, the married couple met with leading archaeologists, such as the Director of the Shrine of the Book, Prof. Adolf Rotman, the discoverer of the ‘David inscription’ and Director of the Archaeological Department of Hebrew Union College, Prof. David Ilan, and the head of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, Prof. Gabriel Barkay. Those named introduced teachers and students of the Martin Bucer Seminary to the latest finds from their diggings. Together with the head of the Sylt Bible Exhibition, Alexander Schick, who had organized the trip, highly valuable facsimiles were handed over to the Israeli Bible Society in Jerusalem for their exhibition.