Welby regrets Synod’s EAPPI vote

28 March 2013

SARAH MALIAN/CHRISTIAN AID

Observer: an "ecumenical accompanier" monitors the Qalandiya between Jerusalem and Ramallah

Observer: an "ecumenical accompanier" monitors the Qalandiya between Jerusalem and Ramallah

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he should have voted against a General Synod motion that endorsed the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

Archbishop Welby abstained on a private member's motion on Palestine and Israel that was passed by the Synod last year ( News, 29 June 2012, Synod, 13 July 2012). The Board of Deputies of British Jews objected to the motion's calling for the Synod to "affirm its support" for EAPPI. It said that EAPPI's "ecumenical accompaniers", who monitor human-rights abuses of Palestinians, had "almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis".

In an interview with The Jewish News, published on Thursday of last week, Archbishop Welby, who is scheduled to visit Israel in June, said: "On reflection, I'd have voted against. I wasn't quite up to speed when I went into that vote. I think the situation in the Holy Land is so complicated . . . and I don't think the motion adequately reflected the complexity."

He said that he would have added to the motion that Israel had the right to "live in security and peace within internationally agreed bor- ders, and the people of the region have the right to justice, peace, and security, whoever they are".

Dr John Dinnen, the Synod member for Hereford diocese who proposed the motion, said on Monday that he was "sad" that Archbishop Welby "now feels he should have voted against my private member's Measure".

He said: "The Measure was carefully drafted with the advice of Archbishop Rowan [Williams] and it was passed by a large majority by General Synod. It was also strongly supported by many British Jews and Jewish groups, such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. . .

"When he visits Israel and Palestine, I hope Archbishop Justin, like Archbishop Rowan before him, will visit the West Bank and speak to ordinary Palestinians whose lives are disrupted by the separation wall built on their land, deep in their territory, and by demolitions, movement restrictions, and other manifestations of the military occupation of Palestine. I hope he will see the work of EAPPI and will meet Palestinians and Israelis working for a just peace."

Archbishop Welby also told The Jewish News that he had been "really pleased" to discover evidence of Jewish ancestry. He said that he was looking forward to meeting up with some cousins he had never met.

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