A Moment of Truth With Christians In Palestine
The Kairos Palestine Document. A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering. Download the English version as PDF . Download the German version as PDF. Download the French version as PDF. Download the Arabic version as PDF.
Here is a brief of the Kairos Palestine document, which was signed on Dec. 11 1009 in Bethlehem city by a group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches, and whose full text was published at World Council of Churches website.
This document was published nowhere in the western media, and there is little hope that the Catholic church, which presents itself as the defenders of all Christians in the Middle East, and other churches of Christian denomination, will take up this issue. If you are the member of a Christian church of any denomination, please disseminate this information as widely as possible. (click on the pictures to see them bigger).
Introduction: we, a group of Palestinian Christians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer and faith in a God ever vigilant, in God’s divine providence for all the inhabitants of this land. Inspired by the mystery of God’s love for all, the mystery of God’s divine presence in the history of all peoples and, in a particular way, in the history of our country, we proclaim our word based on our Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope and love.
1.1.1 The separation wall erected on Palestinian territory, a large part of which has been confiscated for this purpose, has turned our towns and villages into prisons, separating them from one another, making them dispersed and divided cantons. Gaza, especially after the cruel war Israel launched against it during December 2008 and January 2009, continues to live in inhuman conditions, under permanent blockade and cut off from the other Palestinian territories.
1.1.2 Israeli settlements ravage our land in the name of God and in the name of force, controlling our natural resources, including water and agricultural land, thus depriving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and constituting an obstacle to any political solution.
1.1.3 Reality is the daily humiliation to which we are subjected at the military checkpoints, as we make our way to jobs, schools or hospitals.
1.1.4 Reality is the separation between members of the same family, making family life impossible for thousands of Palestinians, especially where one of the spouses does not have an Israeli identity card.
.1.5 Religious liberty is severely restricted; the freedom of access to the holy places is denied under the pretext of security. Jerusalem and its holy places are out of bounds for many Christians and Muslims from the West Bank and the Gaza strip. Even Jerusalemites face restrictions during the religious feasts. Some of our Arab clergy are regularly barred from entering Jerusalem.
1.1.6 Refugees are also part of our reality. Most of them are still living in camps under difficult circumstances. They have been waiting for their right of return, generation after generation. What will be their fate?
1.1.7 And the prisoners? The thousands of prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons are part of our reality. The Israelis move heaven and earth to gain the release of one prisoner, and those thousands of Palestinian prisoners, when will they have their freedom?
1.1.8 Jerusalem is the heart of our reality. It is, at the same time, symbol of peace and sign of conflict. While the separation wall divides Palestinian neighbourhoods, Jerusalem continues to be emptied of its Palestinian citizens, Christians and Muslims. Their identity cards are confiscated, which means the loss of their right to reside in Jerusalem. Their homes are demolished or expropriated. Jerusalem, city of reconciliation, has become a city of discrimination and exclusion, a source of struggle rather than peace.
1.2 Also part of this reality is the Israeli disregard of international law and international resolutions, as well as the paralysis of the Arab world and the international community in the face of this contempt. Human rights are violated and despite the various reports of local and international human rights’ organizations, the injustice continues.
1.2.1 Palestinians within the State of Israel, who have also suffered a historical injustice, although they are citizens and have the rights and obligations of citizenship, still suffer from discriminatory policies. They too are waiting to enjoy full rights and equality like all other citizens in the state.
1.3 Emigration is another element in our reality. The absence of any vision or spark of hope for peace and freedom pushes young people, both Muslim and Christian, to emigrate. Thus the land is deprived of its most important and richest resource – educated youth. The shrinking number of Christians, particularly in Palestine, is one of the dangerous consequences, both of this conflict, and of the local and international paralysis and failure to find a comprehensive solution to the problem.
1.4 In the face of this reality, Israel justifies its actions as self-defence, including occupation, collective punishment and all other forms of reprisals against the Palestinians. In our opinion, this vision is a reversal of reality. Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity. This is our understanding of the situation. Therefore, we call on the Israelis to end the occupation. Then they will see a new world in which there is no fear, no threat but rather security, justice and peace.
1.5 The Palestinian response to this reality was diverse. Some responded through negotiations: that was the official position of the Palestinian Authority, but it did not advance the peace process. Some political parties followed the way of armed resistance. Israel used this as a pretext to accuse the Palestinians of being terrorists and was able to distort the real nature of the conflict, presenting it as an Israeli war against terror, rather than an Israeli occupation faced by Palestinian legal resistance aiming at ending it.
1.5.1 The tragedy worsened with the internal conflict among Palestinians themselves, and with the separation of Gaza from the rest of the Palestinian territory. It is noteworthy that, even though the division is among Palestinians themselves, the international community bears an important responsibility for it since it refused to deal positively with the will of the Palestinian people expressed in the outcome of democratic and legal elections in 2006.
Again, we repeat and proclaim that our Christian word in the midst of all this, in the midst of our catastrophe, is a word of faith, hope and love.
Our Land has a Universal Mission
We believe that our land has a universal mission. In this universality, the meaning of the promises, of the land, of the election, of the people of God open up to include all of humanity, starting from all the peoples of this land. In light of the teachings of the Holy Bible, the promise of the land has never been a political programme, but rather the prelude to complete universal salvation. It was the initiation of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
We also declare that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity because it deprives the Palestinians of their basic human rights, bestowed by God. It distorts the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier just as it distorts this image in the Palestinian living under occupation. We declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or on faith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far from Christian teachings, because it calls for violence and holy war in the name of God Almighty, subordinating God to temporary human interests, and distorting the divine image in the human beings living under both political and theological injustice.
Our word to the international community is to stop the principle of “double standards” and insist on the international resolutions regarding the Palestinian problem with regard to all parties. Selective application of international law threatens to leave us vulnerable to a law of the jungle. It legitimizes the claims by certain armed groups and states that the international community only understands the logic of force. Therefore, we call for a response to what the civil and religious institutions have proposed, as mentioned earlier: the beginning of a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel. We repeat once again that this is not revenge but rather a serious action in order to reach a just and definitive peace that will put an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories and will guarantee security and peace for all.
We pray God to inspire us all, particularly our leaders and policy-makers, to find the way of justice and equality, and to realize that it is the only way that leads to the genuine peace we are seeking.
His Beatitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah, His Grace Bishop Dr. Munib Younan, His Eminence Archbishop Atallah Hanna, Rev. Dr. Jamal Khader, Rev. Dr. Rafiq Khoury, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, Rev. Fadi Diab, Dr. Jiries Khoury, Ms. Cedar Duaybis, Ms. Nora Kort, Ms. Lucy Thaljieh, Mr. Nidal Abu El Zuluf, Mr. Rifat Kassis – Coordinator.
Organizations adopting the document up until 11 December 2009:
Near East Council of Churches – Gaza, YMCA, Laity Committee in the Holy Land YWCA, International Centre of Bethlehem, Department of Service to Palestine Refugees, Siraj Center, Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Arab Orthodox Club Union-Jerusalem, Arab Orthodox Club-Beit Sahour, Arab Orthodox Club-Bethlehem, Arab Orthodox Club-Beit Jala, Orthodox Housing Society, Alternative Tourism Group, National Christian Assembly, WI’AM –The Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center, National Christian Alliance, St. Yves
Signatories: Dr. Bernard Sabella, Mr. Nader Muaddi, Dr. Elias Esaid, Mr. Nael Dahmas, Dr. Irene Hazou Mikhwel, Mr. Ousama Daher, Dr. Jad Isaac, Mr. Raed Abed Rabbo, Dr. Majed Nassar, Mr. Raed Saadeh, Dr. Muna Mushahwar, Mr. Rami Kassis, Dr. Nasri Qumsieh Mr. Rami Qreetm, Dr. Sulaiman Rabadi, Mr. Rami Zeidan, Dr. Zougby Zougby, Mr. Ramzi Zananiri, Advocate Khalil Dugbach, Mr. Richard Elias, Advocate Nabil, Mushahwar, Mr. Richard Zananiri, Advocate Raffoul Rofa, Mr. Saba Abu Eita, Mr Fadi Isaac, Mr. Salim Jaber, Mr Qustandi Dabagh, Mr. Sami Abu Daieh, Mr. Abed-Almasih Younan, Mr. Sami Alyussef, Mr. Adham Rishmawi, Mr. Sami Khoury, Mr. Anton Abu Akleh, Mr. Simon Awad, Mr. Azzam Musleh, Mr. Simon Kuba, Mr. Bassam Turjum, Mr. Subhi Mikhwel, Mr. Bassem Anchouat, Mr. Suleiman Abu Daieh, Mr. Butros Abu Shanab, Mr. Thafer Kassis, Mr. Daoud Rafat, Mr. Tony Hazboun, Mr. Dimitri Diliani, Mr. Wadi Abu Nassar, Mr. Elias Kheir, Mr. Waseem Khazmo, Mr. Elias Tams, Mr. Wassef Daher, Mr. Francis Tams, Mr. William Nazi, Mr. Gassan Daoud, Mr. Wisam Tuma, Mr. George Abu Zuluf, Mr. Yacob Dahdal, Mr. George Akroush, Mr. Yacob Kassis, Mr. George Rishmawi, Mr. Yacob Moussa, Mr. George Sahar, Ms. Alida Zumout, Mr. George Tams, Ms. Anwar Banoura, Mr. Giries Misleh, Ms. Claudette Habash, Mr. Hani Odeh, Ms. Dina Zreneh, Mr. Hanna Khoury, Ms. Fadia Musleh, Mr. Ibrahim Matar, Ms. Hania Qassasieh – Persekian, Mr. Issa Safari, Ms. Jumana Tams, Mr. Jalal Qumsieh, Ms. Mayada Tarazi, Mr. Jamil Ghraib, Ms. Mira Rizk, Mr. Jawad Misleh,Ms. Nadia Esaid, Mr. Joseph Hazboun, Ms. Nora Karmi, Mr. Khader Kokaly, Ms. Pauline Nunu Saadeh, Mr. Marwan Toubasi, Ms. Randa Makhlouf, Mr. Michel Bahnam, Ms. Randa Siniora, Mr. Michel Qreetm, Ms. Rula Daher, Mr. Musa Jarjou’I, Mr. Nabil Almufdi, Mr. Nader Abu Amsha, Ms. Sirine Dahmas, Mr. Nader Hrimat, Ms. Walae Qumsieh.
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