There are interesting and challenging times ahead for the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network. Read more from our President, Helen Rainger ...
Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network - Update

Looking ahead to 2017: A message from PIEN President Helen Rainger

Occupation 101. This documentary, viewed in the context of theology studies, was my starting point for my awareness of the injustices on many levels suffered by the Palestinian people. Why wasn’t I more aware and concerned before this point, a mere five years ago? There are many reasons (and non-reasons); and that is where PIEN comes in.

Those in Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network perhaps see their role as being to wake people up. Put more formally (and see our website for our aims), we are working to make people in general in Australia and more specifically people within our churches, aware of the need for peace with justice in that troubled land. A voice from the churches and to the churches.

To misquote a friend speaking of a different ‘rumour’, I like to see our mission also as ‘keeping the rumour of Palestine alive’. How political should a theology be? As ‘political’ as it needs to be. The significance of Palestinian theology is that it brings our view of God into conversation with the realpolitik of what is happening in Palestine and Israel.

Also part of the role of PIEN is to be in solidarity with Palestinian Christians. The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre for is holding its 10th International Conference in Bethlehem in March and Fred (Rainger) and I are attending. From moments of worship at the Sea of Galilee to confronting the various brands of religious extremism, participants from around the world will stand together. 

Read the rest of the President's message here

Palestine in the news

Over the last month, there have been many references to Palestine and Israel in the media, not the least being: "If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both, and it won't ever really be at peace."
  • Also in the news was the pro-Israel stance of incoming US President Donald Trump, including the likelihood of hard-line appointees and a promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, despite the long-standing US approach to maintain the Embassy in Tel Aviv along with other powers.
  • It was great to see long-term PIEN member Dr Kevin Bray have his opinion piece published in the Canberra Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Melbourne Age. (Have you thought of writing a letter to the editor or an opinion piece on Palestine? We can help you if you are interested.)
To finish on some more positive and proactive news:
More on PM Netanyahu's visit to Australia

In the December Update we noted the possible Australian visit from Israeli Prime Minister,  Benjamin Netanyahu. PIEN believes that this visit should not take place. By inviting the Israeli PM, the Australian government is jeopardising the chances for a peaceful, just outcome to peace talks between Israel and the Palestine Authority. It is demonstrating bias, at a very time when it has accused the United Nations Security Council for being one-sided. Furthermore, in his actions and his words, PM Netanyahu has demonstrated disregard for Palestinians and their right to self-determination. illegal Jewish settlements in occupied Palestine remain the main obstacle to peace, yet Netanyahu continues to approve even more of these roadblocks to peace.
     PIEN will be joining APAN and others in promoting a message of peace to the PM and the Australian government. Both could be doing so much more to work for genuine peace in the Holy Land.
    If you would like to be more involved in our prayerful response to this visit, please contact Tim Budge. We need volunteers in both Melbourne and Sydney and we need financial support to cover the costs of some activities. Can you help out?
Two important events in Palestine in 2017
Have you been thinking about visiting Palestine in 2017? Here are just two different opportunities to think about:

2017 Sabeel Conference: 7th to 13th March, 2017

YWCA/YMCA Journey for Justice: 29th July to 6th August

These are both wonderful opportunities to see Palestine and to stand with our brothers and sisters there.

A Gaza Friendship

This is a heartwarming but also tragic story about two men in Gaza. More than anything else it highlights the resilience of those living there under oppressive occupation. 

Membership - coming soon!

We had hoped to provide more details this month about membership. We had planned to use PayPal, however, given the company's attitude towards users in Palestine, we are finding an alternative payment system. Credit card payments should be in place next month. In the meantime, you can make EFT payments, contact PIEN for more details.

The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network Inc (PIEN) is a network of Australian Christians seeking lasting peace and justice for the people of Palestine and Israel.

We aim to equip and inform Australian churches, inspired by Christ’s vision for universal reconciliation.

www.pien.org.au

Executive Officer
Tim Budge
0412 051 574 
contact@pien.org.au








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Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network · PO Box 561 Flinders Lane · Melbourne, Vic 8009 · Australia

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