Jerusalem Day Rally: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

View my short presentation at the Jerusalem Day Rally held in Whitehall, London, here. The text is below.

What does the word Jeru-salem mean? It means “city of peace” In the Psalms we are told to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). Why are we told to pray for the peace of the city of peace? Perhaps because God knew people would interpret the word “peace” in contradictory ways. That is why the prophet Jeremiah warned “‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14).

Likewise, Jesus contrasted two kinds of peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27). What is the kind of peace that the world gives? What is the peace that does not bring peace?  It is a peace which only calls for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza. It is a peace which drops food supplies by parachute while also supplying bombs to kill the same people. It is a peace that supports a two-state solution but will not recognise one of them. 

The world’s peace is peace without justice. Peace without justice is appeasement of injustice. Peace without justice is complicity with injustice. That is the peace our politicians offer and it is obscene. 

What then is the peace that we should pray for?  What is the peace we should work to achieve in Palestine? Jesus pronounced a blessing on peacemaking.  “Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). What does genuine peacemaking look like in Palestine? 
Here are some practical ways we can be peacemakers.

  1. Demand an immediate, permanent and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza and withdrawal of Israeli forces.
  2. Demand that the UNWRA and humanitarian agencies be allowed unhindered access to provide sufficient supplies of food, water, medical aid, tents, clothing. 500 lorries a day.
  3. Demand the immediate release of all hostages including the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli detention.
  4. Demand Israel pays war reparations for every civilian death, every injury, every home, every university, every school, hospital, clinic, and every business destroyed. $20 billion+
  5. Demand support for the South African submission to the International Court of Justice charging Israel with genocide. 
  6. Institute war crimes investigations against Israeli military and political leaders.
  7. Arrest returning British citizens who have joined the Israeli military and investigate their complicity in war crimes.
  8. Ban export licenses for British companies supplying Israel with weapons or military equipment.
  9. Institute punitive sanctions until Israel withdraws completely and unconditionally from all territory seized and colonised since 1967. 
  10. Boycott Israeli goods. Boycott Western companies profiting from the occupation of Palestine. It is your money and your choice. BDS is a non-violent way to bring the liberation of Palestine from settler colonial military-imposed apartheid. BDS worked in South Africa. It can work in Palestine. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said.

The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the last century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure. If apartheid ended, so can the occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined.” 

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem and then work to be the answer to our own prayers.