Daniel Aqleh, a Christian living in Palestine, chats to Paul Calvert about being a peace activist among conflict.

Daniel Aqleh
Daniel Aqleh

Paul: Why did you start the Peace Activities Facebook page Daniel?

Daniel: This page is very important to me. As a Palestinian Christian living in Bethlehem I see that I need to have a voice.

I am active for the past 12 years or more, engaging with interfaith groups that meet between Arabs and Jews. We talk about peace, exposing the reality of the occupation and lots of things.

I believe that we need to have a voice in spreading peace ideas among people that are around us.

Paul: You have a relationship with Jewish people and get to talk to them. Do they understand the conflict from a Palestinian point of view?

Daniel: Some of them would understand it, but would not really be looking for justice. For me peace is connected strongly with justice. We need to work on justice in order to bring peace.

Some of them are living in a kind of la-la land. They do not see what the current Israel is doing towards the people of Palestine.

Paul: You are living in a part of the world where there is little peace. There is the Israel- Palestine conflict, but also conflict from Syria and Iraq. How effective can you be when there is so much trouble in the world?

Daniel: The one thing that you can do is to have a voice, which means that you have to share the things that you believe in.

As a Palestinian Christian peace activist I believe that Christ said, "Love your enemies" and "Blessed are those who are the peace makers for they will be called children of God." He did not say, "Blessed are those who are the trouble makers."

Working For Peace And Justice Between Arabs And Jews

So whenever we have a conflict I believe we need to be a voice of justice. We need to stop the human rights violations that Israel is doing on a daily basis in order for peace to occur.

I believe we need to let people know that there are a lot of things that are not true or only support one side of the conflict. That is why there is lots of ignorance about Christians that are living in Palestine.

Christians make up about 1% of people living in Palestine and 20% in Bethlehem. However, most people don't know that.

Paul: I get the feeling that the Palestinian people are very hurt. With that in mind is it easy to forgive and love your enemy? Especially when you feel so frustrated seeing things happening in Gaza or in the West Bank?