AT a July 29 luncheon at St. Paul’s Commons, married couple Fadi Diab and Ruba Gammoh describe conditions for Christian Palestinians in Israel. Photo: John Taylor

[The Episcopal News] Sharing insights into ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his homeland, the Rev. Fadi Diab – rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ramallah – will speak Thursday evening at L.A.’s St. John’s Cathedral and preach Sunday at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena.

At the cathedral – located at 514 W. Adams Blvd. – Diab will speak following a 6:30 p.m. Evensong and light dinner, joined by his wife, Ruba Gammoh, and their sons Philippe and Andrew. Co-host for the cathedral program is The Guibord Center, Religion Inside Out.

At All Saints – 132 N. Euclid Ave. across from Pasadena’s City Hall – Diab will preach at the 10 a.m. Eucharist and speak at a 9 a.m. presentation in the Guild Room.

Hosted by All Saints’ parishioners Randy and Doni Heyn-Lamb and the Jerusalem Committee of the diocesan Program Group on Global Partnership, the Diab family also visited Santa Barbara’s Christ the King Church on July 27 and Hermosa Beach’s St. Cross Church on July 30, as well as St. Paul’s Commons in Echo Park for a July 29 luncheon presentation attended by 40 welcomed by Bishop John Harvey Taylor.

The Arab Evangelical Episcopal School in Ramalla, where the Diab family lives and works, needs a new furnace; attendees at the St. Paul’s Commons luncheon contributed to the furnace fund. Photo: John Taylor

A priority throughout the visit is raising $60,000 to replace the furnace at Ramallah’s Arab Evangelical Episcopal School, where Gammoh teaches Christian formation on the campus of 850 Christian and Muslim students, preschool through grade 12, and 120 vocational students. Contributions by check payable to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles may be mailed to the Bishop’s Office, 840 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90026.

The Diab family’s visit occurs as part of the longstanding companion relationship shared by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

In a Facebook post after the Echo Park luncheon gathering, Taylor quoted Diab’s perspective that “It’s time to solve the crisis instead of managing it, as the United States and Israel usually do. Because 76 years of military occupation is enough.

“He offered no detailed plan for peace, justice, and national self-determination beyond insisting that the status quo is unsustainable,” Taylor wrote. “Israel’s right-wing government and extremist elements in Palestine are caught in a feedback loop, with violence in the occupied West Bank at its highest level in 30 years. Settlers are increasing their attacks on Christians and their religious sites. The Palestinian Authority, weakened by corruption, is failing to control Hamas and other extremists.

“Meanwhile, Fadi says, follow the demographics. With 90% of Palestinians living in cities and towns, and 76% of the occupied West Bank under Israeli security in the so-called Area C, Fadi suggested we take the word of Israeli leaders who say their ultimate plan is annexation of most of the territory once envisioned as the heart of an autonomous Palestinian state.

“It’s hard not to be pessimistic. And yet our hope is in the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth, Fadi said, adding, ‘[Israeli President Benjamin] Netanyahu doesn’t have the last word; God does.’ He puts considerable faith in the church to pressure governments, especially in the United States, to take up the cause of Palestinian self-determination more forcefully, using economic leverage if necessary, as we did against South Africa during the international struggle against apartheid.”

The audience listens attentively to the Palestinian family’s presentation at St. Paul’s Commons. Photo: John Taylor

Netanyahu “has also reawakened the Israeli center by trying to weaken the independence of the judiciary, which sometimes puts the brakes on settlements and helps the Palestinian cause in other ways,” Taylor noted. “The Israeli courts will decide whether to veto their own disempowerment in the fall.”

Fadi Diab is a well-respected theologian in the Palestinian community and a prophetic voice for justice and peace. He also provides leadership and pastoral support to the Arab Evangelical Episcopal School (AEES), where his wife Ruba teaches, at the Episcopal Technological & Vocational Training Center (ETVTC), and the diocese-sponsored Diabetes & Cardiovascular Clinic, which provides outpatient treatment.

He is also the rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Birzeit, which is constructing a retirement home and senior center.

In August of 2022, St. Andrew’s, Ramallah, was forcibly entered and severely damaged by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) in an early-morning raid targeting the human rights group Al-Haq, whose offices were located in an adjacent building. This raid was condemned by the Diocese of Jerusalem and international organizations.