• November 24, 2004
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    Anglican delegation to recommend divestment from Israel
Anglican delegation to recommend divestment from Israel "We will return home and recommend that the Anglican Consultative Council [the church's decision-making body] adopt a resolution calling for divestment from Israel, and if our delegation is representative of the larger Anglican sentiment, then I'd say we're in good shape," Dr. Jenny Te Paa, who led the APJN delegation, told Haaretz yesterday.

The 30 or so delegates in the APJN, who were appointed by region and represent the church's extensive global network, will make their official recommendation to the Anglican Consultative Council [ACC] in June, when the body meets formally in Wales.

Ahead of that in February, delegates will also address an international meeting of archbishops in London, to convince spiritual leaders such as the archbishop of Canterbury that divestment is a "moral" imperative.

"The church has become increasingly sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians," said Te Paa, "and the chances of the ACC accepting our recommendation are quite high."

The delegation, which arrived here last week, toured extensively in the West Bank, and met yesterday with Yasir Arafat in Ramallah. Delegates insisted that they made sure to schedule time with Israeli leadership as well, and pointed to a meeting with MK Azmi Bishara last Wednesday.

"The word draconian barely even begins to describe what we saw," Reverend Brian J. Greives, who represents the U.S. church, said of his experience.

Like others in his delegation, Greives intends to recommend that the church adopt divestment "to bring an end to the conflict."

He stressed, though, that consultations with leading figures in the American Jewish community who were "deeply distressed" by the precedent the Presbyterians set in late July would be key in the decision-making process.

Archdeacon Taimalelagi Tuatagola-Matalavea, the Anglican observer at the UN who was part of the delegation, said that she too would advocate for divestment and an increased cooperation with the Presbyterian church, "so that Christian faiths can bring peace to this land."

Reverend Naim Ateek, an APJN advisor who is active in the Palestinian Christian liberation movement, agreed, adding that the church needs to seek peace, and political or economic pressure is a necessary means to achieve that.

The Anglican Peace and Justice Network represents 75 million Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide.