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The View From Here

The world has watched in horror at the unfolding events in the Middle East. The horrific attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas on 7 October and the subsequent siege and bombardment of Gaza have left thousands dead, hundreds forcibly taken, thousands injured, hundreds of thousands displaced, and two peoples further traumatised.

Christian Aid has a long history of working in the land we call Holy, with Palestinians and Israelis, with Christians, Jews and Muslims. Working with people who are committed to building a just peace for all, with the people who refuse to ‘other’ their fellow humans, but rather are willing to do the hard work of community building and peace building. 

Having had the privilege of visiting Israel and the West Bank on several occasions, I am continually moved and impressed by the resilience and courage of people working under enormously difficult circumstances to build peace: those living under the rigors of daily occupation, water shortages, movement restrictions and everyday injustices who refuse to be enemies and rather put their energy into supporting those living with even fewer social and economic opportunities in order to keep hope alive.

Those in Israel who strive to build peace and work for human rights both within Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Blessed are the peacemakers.

Archbishop Elias Chacour, a Christian, Palestinian, Arab-Israeli, has gone back to the Aramaic for his translation of the beatitudes, and he notes that the word for ‘blessed’ is ‘ashray’, which doesn’t have the same passive quality.

Instead he translates the beatitudes, as “Get up, go ahead, do something, move, you peacemakers, for you shall be called children of God.” He goes on to note: “To me this reflects Jesus’ words and teachings much more accurately.

I can hear him saying, ‘Get your hands dirty to build a human society for human beings; otherwise, others will torture and murder the poor, the voiceless, and the powerless’. Christianity is not passive but active, energetic, alive, going beyond despair.” Beatitudes | Ashray ( 

Our Middle East Crisis Appeal is providing much needed supplies to the people of Gaza who are living in unimaginable conditions. We are also exploring how we can offer phyco-social support to people in Israel.

With the West Bank also under restrictions, as we turn our thoughts to Christmas and that little town of Bethlehem, it’s difficult to shift our focus from the Middle East. 

However, we still have a full compliment of amazing partner work going on around the world that needs to be celebrated and sustained.

Our Christmas appeal this year focuses on our partner ‘Aid Comilla’ in northern Bangladesh, who support young women to use the internet to market and sell their products, giving them viable sources of independent income, enabling them to stay in education and avoid marrying young.

Kakoli Khatun (21) is one of those to have benefitted. Following training she’s now selling beautiful hand-crafted quilts online. As one of Aid Comilla’s ‘change agents’, Kakoli then recruited and trained nine other women from her village to join her new business.

She’s passionate about preserving nakshi kantha, the centuries-old Bengali art of quilt making. She said, “nakshi kantha is from an old era. It’s getting lost and no one is paying attention. It’s very beautiful. If we can make it and sell it, we will earn and it will spread,” she said.  

Kakoli is now earning a regular income and studying at college: “I didn’t have any dreams a few years ago because I didn’t have any money to do anything. To do something, I had to ask for money from my brothers and father. Today, I have a dream to grow this business so I can support my parents. I love this work... I have a dream to make this business bigger.” 

If you or your church are able, please consider supporting Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal, or purchasing one of our charity gifts for your family and friends. Please visit:

Thanks for all you do to support our work and I wish you a peaceful Christmas.

Val Brown

Get involved

Middle East Crisis Appeal

We are gravely concerned by the violence and mounting death toll. Our partners in Gaza are ready to respond when it is safe to do so.

Christmas Appeal

This Christmas, it's time to help young women shine.


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