A leading British Christian working for peace with justice in Israel-Palestine has criticised US evangelist Pat Robertson for fanning the flames of misunderstanding and hatred in the region, following a recent rally sponsored by the pro-Zionist ‘International Christian Embassy’. The Rev Dr Colin Morton, a Church of Scotland minister who coordinates the Middle East Forum of the ecumenical Churches’ Commission on Mission, was speaking in the aftermath of Robertson’s recently publicised Jerusalem visit last week.

A leading British Christian working for peace with justice in Israel-Palestine has criticised US evangelist Pat Robertson for fanning the flames of misunderstanding and hatred in the region, following a recent rally sponsored by the pro-Zionist ‘International Christian Embassy’.

The Rev Dr Colin Morton, a Church of Scotland minister who coordinates the Middle East Forum of the ecumenical Churches’ Commission on Mission, was speaking in the aftermath of Robertson’s recently publicised Jerusalem visit last week.

Robertson praised Israel as part of ‘God’s plan’ and called on President Ariel Sharon to defy the United Nations and the international community. He criticized Arab countries and some Muslims, denouncing their hopes to include Israeli-occupied land in a parallel Palestinian state as ‘satanic’.

But Dr Morton, whose network links British and Irish churches and agencies working in the region, described the theology of the US religious right on this point as ‘a misinterpretation of the Bible’.

He added: ‘Two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, and those of three religions, Jews, Muslims and Christians, all belong to the Holy Land and should all be able to live there in security and peace. We deplore the present cycle of violence, and believe that a just peace can only be achieved through negotiation and recognition of the equal human dignity of all, not by violence or the force of arms.’

‘Pat Robertson is against all negotiation,’ added Dr Morton. ‘He is fanning the flames of a religious conflict which would bring disaster to all, and peace and security to no-one.’

Right-wing US evangelicals have poured millions of dollars into backing the Israeli government. They say Israel should not relinquish control of the lands it captured in the 1967 war, including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

But indigenous Palestinian Christians, who Robertson and his supporters ignore, oppose such outside manipulations.

Melkite priest Elias Chacour, who is both a citizen of Israel and a Palestinian, has described the biblical Land as ‘a shared inheritance’. For there to be lasting peace ‘we must acknowledge each others wounds, he says.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_2004_10_11_morton.shtml