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World News

'Pray for peace': a plea from Jerusalem as violence continues

by Donna Birrell

A Palestinian Christian living in East Jerusalem is urging the international community to pray for reconciliation in the region.

Katie Madanet was speaking in a week of heightened violence which has left several Palestinians dead, and hundreds injured in clashes with police in Jerusalem.

"It is heartbreaking. I think what's difficult is that this is the legacy in many ways of this land. And so, there's just a heartbreaking normalcy to this. And tension potentially will die down and de-escalate and the people who've been hurt, will be hurt. Their lives, their families, will never be the same, but everyone else will keep moving."

She says that while Middle East tensions make the newspaper front pages, it is important to consider the personal stories of those caught up in the conflict.

"It's the stories that make your situation real, as opposed to headlines and statistics. But in terms of prayer, I think it always comes down to an issue of the heart, it comes down to a desperate need for reconciliation, and a peace that isn't peace-keeping, but that's peace-making. I think there are a lot of people here and around the world who are passionate about equality and justice in this land, but sometimes that justice can lean towards the secularist godless side. Peace talks and agreements and borders will never solve the heart issue. That's at the root of all things."

Madanet, who is staying with a mission alliance in the city, says prayer and the unity of faith groups is comforting at this difficult time.

"Sometimes the situations that lead us to stand in unity are heartbreaking. But we do have a wonderful representation of the faith community here and within churches, and even groups within the Muslim and the Jewish faith, have shared values at their core and will stand together to say that we do all want the same things, ultimately. I think what goes beyond that message is that we need to learn to want that for our enemies as well as ourselves. And so, 'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem' has been a slogan that's been thrown around, probably for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But I don't think we can ever stop."

Despite describing Israel's political situation as a "rollercoaster", Madanet says there is always hope.

"I think there has to be hope. Anyone who has a Christ centred worldview can't look at this and just see people and land. It's something much, much deeper than that. And that's where the importance of prayer comes in and rooting ourselves in that."


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