DAVIS, WALT & many authors. STEADFAST HOPE: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace. 2010. The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

“For me the struggle is not between Palestinians and Israelis, nor between Jews and Arabs. The fight is between those who seek peace and those who seek war. My people are those who seek peace.” Nurit Peled Elhanan

A mainstream Christian church in the USA has taken the peace gospels of the Bible seriously and committed itself to leadership by supporting the Palestinian quest for just peace in a profound way. One part of this commitment is the production of this excellent guide to history, current situation and peace initiatives in Palestine and Israel; although it does cover much political history it is a wonderful source of personal stories – of the people who live their lives under occupation, fear and oppression. It covers history from the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which many claim is the source of much of today´s conflict, to the Nakba of 1948 to the appalling situation in Gaza now.

“For Palestinians, a major source of hope is that many Jews, in Israel and around the world, are active in campaigning for Palestinian human rights. The involvement of Jews is an important expression of solidarity that greatly contributes to future peace among Palestinians and Jews.” Nada Hijab

This beautifully presented book has many short articles, each focussing on a particular issue of the struggle; the economic aid of the USA, the Wall, the settlements, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, the resistance of both Palestinians and Israelis and Jews worldwide to the injustice of the occupation and more. What makes this book so special for me are the stories by individual Palestinians, personalizing them and their families in a way we seldom see in the media. The excellent and lively photos are also very personal and show the humanity of Palestinians and their Israeli and international supporters. The book closes with a succinct chronology of events, a resource list for further study and a guide for discussion and many ideas for action. The book also comes with an 80 minute companion DVD with seven different stories.

I recommend Steadfast Hope to all interested in this important issue and particularly to North American Christians. For solidarity activists it is both useful and inspiring.

Filed under Book Reviews, Walt Davis