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Holy Land: Churches begin international week for peace in Middle East

 Members of the International Pax Christi and Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) from various countries are participating in a joint advocacy initiative for peace in Palestine and Israel this week. The initiative, convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC), will see the concerned groups lobby parliamentarians, hold public meetings, observe vigils and plant olive trees worldwide. The activities will signal to policy-makers and public audiences the churches' conviction that a just and equitable resolution of the Middle East conflict is now more urgent than ever. Patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem have supported the initiative and issued a message calling on Christians around the world to make a public witness for peace. "Now as the situation continues to deteriorate and opportunities for peace are forsaken, it is crucial for Christians to make their voices heard vigourously in the public arena," the message says. In Jerusalem, the week was launched yesterday with a joint service of prayer led by the heads of churches. The week also includes, among other activities, a solidarity visit with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPTs) in Hebron, a candlelight march to the Separation Wall, and a planting day that is part of an olive tree campaign. Source: CISA