Bishop of Southwark asks Government about humanitarian situation in Gaza

southwark-20feb17On 11th July 2017 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received a written answer to a question on the supply of electricity in Palestine:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what steps they are taking to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, following the decision by the government of Israel to implement a request from the Palestinian Authority to reduce the flow of electricity supplies from Israel to Gaza. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about humanitarian situation in Gaza”

Bishop of Chester on the Balfour Declaration

On 5th July 2017 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Lord Turnberg, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in November.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I want to make two points in my two-penn’orth of time.

First, the Balfour Declaration did not arise in a vacuum and in part reflected the very considerable contribution made by Jewish people, mainly recent immigrants of course, to Britain and the then war effort. To take an obvious example, it was a Jewish chemist at the University of Manchester who devised a clever new way to manufacture acetone from sugar and carbohydrate. It was a vital chemical in short supply for the manufacture of cordite. That chemist, Chaim Weizmann, went on to become the first President of the State of Israel. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester on the Balfour Declaration”

Bishop of Chester says soft power crucial to future UK influence in Middle East

On 4th July 2017 Lord Howell of Guildford moved “that this House takes note of the Report from the International Relations Committee The Middle East: Time for a New Realism (2nd Report, Session 2016–17 HL Paper 159).” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, in my contribution to our debate on these complex matters, I will comment on two areas. I do so with great appreciation for the report, so comprehensively introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Howell. It is full of excellent, empirical detail. We ought also to pay attention to certain overarching factors or narratives.

For my first point, I go back 30 years to the excellent BBC series presented by the historian John Roberts, “The Triumph of the West”. A book of that ​title was published to accompany the series. I reread it recently and thought how perceptive and prescient it was. Perhaps politically correct censors would not allow the title these days, but John Roberts’ compelling thesis was that the essential message of contemporary history was the dominance and penetration of western civilisation, driven on by the power unleashed by modern science. The term “globalisation” had yet to be coined, but in part of course it names the phenomenon. Modern science derives from western European civilisation from the 16th century onwards and carries many of the implicit assumptions of our culture. John Roberts’ name is not as well known these days as it should be. I knew him a little because he was a history don and later warden of my old college, Merton, although in those days I was an unreconstructed and perhaps even reprobate chemist. Sadly, he died prematurely but his works are still worth reading again, as I say. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester says soft power crucial to future UK influence in Middle East”

Bishop of Peterborough asks about long term support to rebuild Syria

PeterboroughFeb2017aOn 5th April 2017, Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they are intending to respond to the chemical attack seemingly carried out by the Syrian Government on civilians in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.” The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question about future international efforts to rebuild Syria after peace is secured in the area.

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough My Lords, as the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday, we on these Benches mourn with the people of Idlib and we pray for justice and an end to violence. However, if and when peace is finally secured in the region, the scale of suffering and damage experienced by the people of Syria over the past six years will demand enormous and costly international effort if Syria is to be rebuilt. Will Her Majesty’s Government commit not just to supporting the people of Syria in the short term but to supporting the decades-long process of restoration that will inevitably be needed once the present crisis is over? Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough asks about long term support to rebuild Syria”

Bishop of Southwark raises concerns about conditions in Gaza and wellbeing of children

SouthwarkOn 21st July 2016 Lord Warner led a debate to highlight “the conditions in which Palestinian children are living and the impact on their health and wellbeing.” The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, spoke in the debate, drawing on his experiences of visiting Gaza and the West bank. Baroness Mobarik responded for the Government to a number of points made by the Bishop. her remarks can be found below.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: I, too, express my gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for securing this important debate. I speak as patron of the charities Embrace the Middle East and Friends of the Holy Land. I regularly lead pilgrimages to Israel and Palestine and for these past two years I have participated annually as a Church of England bishop in the Vatican Holy Land Coordination visiting Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark raises concerns about conditions in Gaza and wellbeing of children”

Bishop of Worcester calls for end to demolition of Palestinian homes and land confiscation in West Bank and east Jerusalem

On 17th March 2016 Lord Hylton led a question for short debate, to ask Her Majesty’s Government “to what extent they will implement the recommendations of the House of Commons International Development Committee in their report of July 2014, The UK’s Development Work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge spoke in the debate:

worcesterThe Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, for securing this debate. As someone who wants to see the flourishing of both Israel and Palestine, I welcome this report, although I am saddened by the situation that has developed since its publication. In their response to the report, the Government affirm their support of a two-state solution. If that is to remain a possibility, we surely need to do all we can to persuade Israel to end the demolition of Palestinian homes and the confiscation of Palestinian land throughout the West Bank, including east Jerusalem. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester calls for end to demolition of Palestinian homes and land confiscation in West Bank and east Jerusalem”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Daesh presence in Gaza and West Bank

On 2nd March 2016 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received an answer to a written question on Daesh in Gaza and the West Bank:

BishSouthwarktaxcreditsThe Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the presence of Daesh in Gaza and the West Bank. [HL6280]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Government’s assessment is that there are groups and individuals in the West Bank and (primarily) in Gaza who sympathise with or self-identify as Daesh but are not formally affiliated with them. We remain concerned about a possible Daesh presence and continue to monitor the situation closely.