This book began life under the direction of the Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine (FODIP), a faith-based charity facilitating dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims on this divisive issue. The project brought together a working group of five scholars from different theological fields, all with an interest in the criteria Christians may use in talking about conflict in general and the Israeli Palestinian situation in particular. What has emerged is a collection of papers with fresh areas of consideration and stimulating invitations to continue the conversation.
It became clear early on that issues of language, and how we choose to speak about the conflict, are of central importance. We asked the question: how is it possible to have dialogue, when the very ways in which we speak about the conflict feed the problem? So often our discussions become the obstacle to change. Moreover, such discussions can polarise the Christian world, let alone hinder our dealings with our Jewish and Muslim cousins.
Only by learning to work and talk together for the good of others, even where there are fundamental disagreements about the causes, can we hope to be of use to the people of the region. This volume is simply an invitation to continue the dialogue, avoiding the hackneyed cliches and the well-rehearsed rhetoric, and to seek new, creative ways to engage. Its contributors, Shanthikumar Hettiarachichi, Mark Chapman, Douglas Hedley, Patrick Riordan and Clare Amos, have experience and committed interest in these issues and hopefully something within these pages will strike a definite chord with you, the reader.