From the Revd Ray Low
Sir, — In light of the current situation in the Holy Land, it is very disappointing that the Church Times (11 September) included a 32-page advertising insert produced by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
The former US President, Jimmy Carter, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently returned from a visit to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. They report that “the all-pervasive abuse of Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza was very disturbing to all of us.”
They also commented on the confiscation of Palestinian property, the expansion of illegal settlements, the 600 checkpoints, and the huge wall built mainly on Palestinian land. The insert also fails to mention that, to get to Bethlehem, you must pass through the wall.
To encourage tourism without taking into account these realities does a great disservice to those like Mr Carter and Dr Tutu and the many people throughout the world, including Jews both inside and outside Israel, who are working towards a just and peaceful settlement of this tragedy.
For those still inclined to go, may I suggest contacting the office of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, or Canon Naim Ateek, to receive a more balanced account of their visit than one might receive from one of the Israeli guides.
The Vicarage, Wadswick Lane
Neston, Corsham SN13 9TA