Introduction


You Can’t Say We Didn’t Know:
Some Perspectives on Israel, Palestine, and the Conflict

Episcopal Bishop’s Committee for Israel/Palestine
Diocese of Olympia
October 2016


By The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, VIII Bishop of Olympia

For many years the Diocese of Olympia has had a special relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Parishes in this Diocese have become sister parishes with parishes in Israel and the West Bank. In Israel, as well as in the West Bank and Gaza, there are Episcopal educational and medical institutions that people and parishes in our diocese not only financially support but also often visit. I have personally visited many of these institutions both in the West Bank and Gaza.

Given this history, it should not surprise anyone that we have, in this Diocese, an Episcopal Bishop’s Committee for Israel/Palestine.

The members of this committee meet monthly to reflect upon how we, the Diocese of Olympia, might better support not only our fellow Episcopalians, but the whole Christian community of the Holy Land as they go about their delicate and difficult mission of peacemaking. This booklet is one expression of the educational work the Committee does in our diocese. I very much welcome the publication of the papers that make up this booklet and I commend them to you. I have read them all. I commend them not as statements with which we all will agree. In fact, I am still puzzled and unsure about some of the issues. It is a complex situation. But, that is why it is immensely important for us to read and learn more about these issues and to be open to a genuine dialogue and deeper engagement with all of them. It is my hope that this booklet will stimulate reflection and conversation that will enable us to better understand and more effectively witness to and support the efforts of all the people of Israel-Palestine: Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike, all of whom are struggling to live together in shalom, salaam, justice and peace.

I offer my thanks to the members of the Bishop’s Committee for Israel/Palestine for the offering of these papers and for their continued commitment to our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land.