160 people met in Bethlehem Palestine at the Pax Christi International World Assembly between 13 – 18 May to mark the 70th anniversary of the Movement. A group from the UK took part, including Pat Gaffney, Chris Cole, Ellen Teague, Ann Farr, Sue Scott, Holly Ball and Heather Kiernen.
Sadly, two important members of the movement were missing, Jose Henrique, International Secretary of Pax Christi was refused entry as he tried to enter Israel/Palestine through Jordan and Bishop Kevin Dowling from South Africa unable to attend because of illness.
The opening ceremony included speeches from HB Michel Sabbah, former International President, Marie Dennis, Co-President and many more, all praising the work of Pax Christi and its members around the globe.
During the Assembly, participants took part in ‘Walking Paths’, exposure visits exploring aspects of life under occupation in Palestine; commemorations of the Nakba and the Pax Christi International Peace Award Ceremony.
Two documents came from the gathering
The Bethlehem Commitment: Bringing the future into focus 2015 – 2020, a document for inspiration, forward planning to help the Pax Christi family all plan for the coming five years and the statement on Palestine calling for recognition of Palestine, end to settlements and support to the nonviolent struggle for justice and peace.
For articles written by Ellen Teague:
Ecological justice in the Jordan Valley
Pax Christi marks the Nakba
Pax Christi Pilgrimage supports the Living Stones
Palestinian Bedouins “international people are our voice in the world”
Hebron: a microcosm of the Palestinian conflict
Delegates also had meetings with Israeli peace groups such as Rabbis for Human Rights, B’tselem, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Women in Black