In early February 2023, 13 people from six countries participated in a Pax Christi delegation to Palestine, with the goal “to reconnect with Pax Christi partners; see first-hand the facts on the ground; meet with religious leaders, activists, and those providing direct service; and to speak with those affected by the [Israeli] occupation. Most importantly, we wanted to reaffirm our steadfast commitment and solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers in their legitimate demand for freedom, justice, and equality.”

The delegation participants, which included Pax Christi USA program director Roxana Bendezú and Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and 2022 Teacher of Peace Marie Dennis, have released a statement, A testimony of witness, from their visit.

… What we witnessed was nothing short of an unfolding, deliberate plan to disenfranchise one group of people for the benefit of another. We saw the ever-expanding illegal Jewish settlements and the network of separate highways, bridges, and tunnels which support them. A modern infrastructure designed solely for the use and benefit of Israeli citizens. We stood at the foot of the monstrous 30-foot-high Israeli Wall which strategically weaves deep into the West Bank severing Palestinian families and communities from their land and each other. We watched as the checkpoints, barriers, and a permit system for Palestinians, administered solely by Israel, create unimaginable hardships that hinder Palestinians’ access to every aspect of their daily life – work, school, healthcare, and the freedom to worship. …

A testimony of witness, March 2023

The statement concludes with the following commitments from delegation participants:

  • Educate others about the realities of the occupation
  • Demand an end to the impunity provided by the international community, which has enabled Israel to flagrantly violate international laws, the Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute, and UN resolutions
  • Actively engage with policymakers and religious leaders, sharing what we have seen and heard
  • Call for accountability for the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as the first anniversary of her death approaches (May 11)
  • Promote the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
  • Encourage others to go and see – not just the dead stones of history but also the living stones – to talk with and listen to the voices of the Palestinian people. It is our hope that others will hear their stories, enjoy their hospitality, and then share what they have learned with others

Use this link to read the entire delegation report.

Members of Pax Christi International delegation to Palestine meet with family of murdered journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, February 2023
Delegation members from the U.S.: Abigail Abysalh Metzger, Pax Christi International UN team in New York; Ambassador of Peace Marie Dennis, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative; and Roxana Bendezú, Pax Christi USA program director

2 thoughts on “Report from Pax Christi delegation to Palestine

  1. This is a beautiful and powerful of witness to the pain and struggle of the Palestinian people, their nonviolent resistance, and the hope with which they continue their lives. Let us pray and do what we can to end the suffering and bring about justice.

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