by Elodie de Bethmann
On 13 June, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations held a seminar about Peace and Justice in Israel and Palestine for an intergenerational group from The First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, New Jersey. The group members have recently been discussing the Kairos Palestine Document and have been particularly interested in the pursuit of peace and justice in Palestine and Israel.
The first speaker was from the UN Department of Political Affairs, Division of Palestinian Rights. He spoke about the conflict by setting it within its historical context and explained how the UN addresses issues related to Israel and Palestine. The second speaker, a staff member of Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN, described the Mission’s various components, its relationship to the UN, foreign policy agenda, and perspective on the situation. The final speaker, a staff member of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN, addressed past, present, and possible future developments regarding the situation. Each speaker responded to a number of questions from group members. After the three presentations, the group went on a tour of the United Nations building. The day proved to be very informative and stimulated much reflection on the quest for a just peace. It was wonderful to be able to share such an exciting day with members of The First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell.