I can scarcely make it through my morning routine without hearing or reading about the pain of the human condition made known in the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank these summer months. Civilian deaths have been on the rise and the international community is turning more and more attention to the violent eruptions between Israel and Palestine.
The complexities of the situation extend well beyond my knowledge and well beyond my lifetime, and choosing one side or another in this violent conflict seems not to be our place as people of peace. Views that condemn all Israelis or support all Palestinian actions (or vice versa) don’t take into account the breadth and depth of the difficulties faced in this long-contested region.
But to ignore the mess is the easy way out, and so I’ve been looking for ways I can engage without being forced into political binaries. Often in these kinds of places, my first resource is Christian Peacemaker Teams.
CPT is supported by many Mennonites and other people of peace, working around the world by “building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.” I have a handful of friends and mentors who have joined CPT on delegations and many acquaintances who give generously to their work in places like Colombia, Palestine and Iraq. Even more moving, I have friends of friends who are giving their lives in service to this work of peacemaking and to this idea that Christians are called to take risks for peace.
In these complex situations of great strife, CPT is living into values I can get behind:
- Honor and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality
- Strengthen grassroots initiatives
- Transform structures of domination and oppression
- Embody creative non-violence and liberating love
Today that means the CPT Palestine delegation is working with Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers. They are walking with Palestinian children to and from school and accompanying Palestinian shepherds to fields where they risk assault by Israeli settlers. They are monitoring military checkpoints and intervening when they see human rights abuses.
Daily I see updates on Facebook, pictures from CPTers who are “getting in the way” of violence and educating those of us here at home. For those called to action, there are ways to donate and to serve and always, always to pray.
Praying for peace,