A senior Scottish churchman today wrote to Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to ask them to intervene in the growing Middle East conflict. The Rt Revd Neville Chamberlain, Bishop of Brechin, said that the Holy Land's only hope was to follow the example of the two South African leaders and set up a form of Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Bishop, who has just returned from leading a pilgrimage in Jordan, set out his views in Dundee's City Square, in a speech at a demonstration against Israeli aggression. He called for a "spiritual solution" to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, after the abject failure of recent military and political efforts. The Bishop added, "Jews, Muslims and Palestinian Christians worship the same God. They follow the same prophets in their Holy Books. Both Jews and Arabs are Semites. Their theologies shout out for compassion, tolerance and grace - the unconditional acceptance of one by the other as God loves them. This is a start.
"The spiritual route in question is the route of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu and the peoples of South Africa - that of reconciliation, or accommodation as worked out in their Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
"It can't happen immediately. The wounds are too raw, the killings too recent. However, plans could be made now. Archbishop Tutu says that mercy is at the heart of the process. He argues that mercy and forgiveness have a higher value than justice."
Bishop Neville told the crowd that he had already written to Mandela and Tutu to see if they could help. "They could do no worse and a lot better than Colin Powell." He added, "I do believe that the way forward for these two countries is neither political nor military but spiritual."
On a local level, Bishop Chamberlain called on Dundee people to send cash and other donations to the city's twin town of Nablus in the occupied territories. "If they need engineers, electricians, builders, sewerage workers or planners we should send these, or indeed go ourselves."
Earlier this year, the Bishop ended his 40-year membership of the Labour party in protest at the UK government's failure to condemn Israeli actions.
Article from: The Scottish Episcopal Church