Scottish church leader: Israeli barrier “theft of land”

The following item is from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

Church leader accuses Israel

A Scottish church leader called Israel’s West Bank security barrier a “theft of land.”

The Rev. David Lacy, an official with the Church of Scotland, said he was upset after his visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem. “I was very much in sympathy with why the Israelis built a wall here, and still am to a certain extent,” Lacy was quoted as saying.

“But when you actually see where it is, you see that it’s not for security, it’s for making political statements. It’s theft of land and I don’t know how you can justify it on the grounds of anti-terrorism.” Israeli officials, who note that the fence has proven its efficacy at reducing terrorism, said Lacy’s comments were motivated by his pro-Palestinian politics.(JTA. Nov. 14)

Additionally, Lacy told The Scotsman:

“I was in South Africa in 1976 and witnessed apartheid in the raw.

“It had the same effect on me, one of recoiling from the injustice. And then you say, ‘You can’t just recoil, you have to somehow fight this,'” he said.

Lacy added that he would call on fellow Christians to visit the region in order to “open their eyes to the reality here”.

A Kirk committee is currently studying the issue of divestment in Israel in the wake of a 2004 decision by the Presbyterian church in the United States to endorse a policy of divestment in the Jewish State over its policies in the West Bank and Gaza.

The committee’s report will be made public at the next General Assembly in May 2006.

When asked if he would actively support divestment, the moderator said: “It would be a dangerous thing for me to be here for two weeks and make knee-jerk decisions about what should be done, other than to express horror and dismay.”

However, he also said that while Israelis had told him that “divestment would only hurt the Palestinians, I have met Palestinians who say they are willing to put up with it”.

See our last post on Israel’s separation barrier.

See B’Tselem on the barrier.