• May 24, 2001
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    Christian plea over plight of Palestine
Christian plea over plight of Palestine Christians yesterday were urged to visit the Holy Land, not to see religious relics and sites, but to witness the hardship and suffering of Palestinian people.

The Rev Clarence Musgrave, minister of St Andrew's church in Jerusalem, told the general assembly bombings and shootings were now commonplace.

Restrictions fell hard on the Palestinians who had to pass through roadblocks - in one case refusing to allow an expectant mother through to hospital.

"She had to give birth at the roadblock. I would urge you to recognise that there are people who are in big prisons in what we call the Holy Land. Palestinians are afraid and the Jewish people are also afraid. We need people to come to this place," he said.

The assembly approved a motion calling for the government to take a bigger role in driving for peace between the warring parties.

It also heard a theological challenge in a petition which questioned the Old Testament teaching of the covenant where God blessed the seizure of land by the Israelites from indigenous people - the Canaanites.

Moira Kennedy drew modern parallels with the Palestinians. She said Christian tradition had not embraced Jewish festivals or dietary rules but through the Bible it had accepted Zionism, which portrayed murder and genocide of the Canaanites as righteous.

"That makes me angry. It defies common sense and it defies moral sense," she said.

The assembly rejected the petition but referred its arguments to a new joint study by the Kirk on the theology of the the Holy Land.

- May 24th