Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[HumanRights] Critical document: Please forward to all Churches

Expand Messages
  • Petros Evdokas
    A message from Bethlehem. Petros ... Subject: [HumanRights] Critical document: Please forward to all churches Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 From: Mazin Qumsiyeh
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13 10:18 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      A message from Bethlehem.

      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: [HumanRights] Critical document: Please forward to all churches
      Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009
      From: Mazin Qumsiyeh <mazin@...>

      To: petros@...
      CC: Human Rights Newsletter <humanrights@...>

      *ACTION ITEM: I attended the launching of this critical document on
      Friday in Bethlehem (a packed press conference with over 200 people
      attending). Please forward this document to all churches in your area.
      It is essential to bring peace.*

      For immediate release - 11/12/2009 16:12:00

      A group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and
      church-related organizations have issued an animated and prayerful call
      for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call, issued at a
      11 December meeting in Bethlehem, comes at a time when many Palestinians
      believe they have reached a dead end. It raises questions to the
      international community, political leaders in the region, and the
      churches worldwide about their contribution to the Palestinian people's
      pursuit of freedom. Even in the midst of "our catastrophe" the call is
      described as a word of faith, hope and love.

      Referred to as "The Kairos Palestine Document" the call echoes a similar
      summons issued by South African churches in the mid-1980s at the height
      of repression under the apartheid regime. That call served to galvanize
      churches and the wider public in a concerted effort that eventually
      brought the end of apartheid.

      The authors of the Kairos Palestine Document, among them Patriarch
      Emeritus Michel Sabbah from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the
      Lutheran Bishop of Jerusalem Munib Younan, and Archbishop Theodosios
      Atallah Hanna of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of
      Jerusalem, have raised the challenge of the urgency for peace with
      justice to religious and political leaders in Palestinian and the
      Israeli society, international community, and to "our Christian brothers
      and sisters in the churches" around the world. They believe that current
      efforts in the Middle East are confined to managing the crisis rather
      than finding pertinent and long term solutions to the crisis.

      Decrying empty promises

      Expressing their pain, the signatories of the call decry the emptiness
      of the promises and pronouncements about peace in the region. They
      remind the world about the separation wall erected on Palestinian
      territory, the blockade of Gaza, how Israeli settlements ravage their
      land, the humiliation at military checkpoints, the restrictions of
      religious liberty and controlled access to holy places, the plight of
      refugees awaiting their right of return, prisoners languishing in
      Israeli prisons and Israel's blatant disregard of international law, as
      well as the paralysis of the international community in the face of this

      Rejecting Israeli justifications for their actions as being in
      self-defence, they unambiguously state that if there were no occupation,
      "there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity."

      They argue: "God created us not to engage in strife and conflict but
      together build up the land in love and mutual respect. Our land has a
      universal mission, and the promise of the land has never been a
      political programme, but rather the prelude to complete universal
      salvation. Our connectedness to this land is a natural right. It is not
      an ideological or a theological question only." They reject any use of
      the Bible to legitimize or support political options and positions that
      are based upon injustice.

      Declaring the occupation of Palestinian land as a sin against God and
      humanity, they steadfastly adhere to the signs of hope such as "local
      centres of theology" and "numerous meetings for inter-religious
      dialogue", recognizing that these signs provide hope to the resistance
      of the occupation. Through the logic of peaceful resistance, resistance
      is as much a right as it is a duty as it has the potential to hasten the
      time of reconciliation.

      Asserting that this is a moment demanding repentance for past actions,
      either for using hatred as an instrument of resistance or the
      willingness to be indifferent and absorbed by faulty theological
      positions, the group calls on the international community and
      Palestinians for steadfastness in this time of trial. "Come and see [so
      we can make known to you] the truth of our reality", they appeal.

      Poignantly, they conclude, "in the absence of all hope, we cry out our
      cry of hope. We believe in God, good and just. We believe that God's
      goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that
      still persist in our land. We will see here 'a new land' and 'a new
      human being', capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his
      or her brothers and sisters."

      The authors are:

      • Patriarch Michel Sabbah
      • Bishop Dr Munib Younan
      • Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna
      • Rev. Dr Jamal Khader
      • Rev. Dr Rafiq Khoury
      • Rev. Dr Mitri Raheb
      • Rev. Dr Naim Ateek
      • Rev. Dr Yohana Katanacho
      • Rev. Fr Fadi Diab
      • Dr Jiries Khoury
      • Ms Sider Daibes
      • Ms Nora Kort
      • Ms Lucy Thaljieh
      • Mr Nidal Abu Zulof
      • Mr Yusef Daher
      • Mr Rifat Kassis - coordinator of the initiative

      Media contact in Jerusalem: Ranjan Solomon +972-54-733-7857

      Full text of the Kairos Palestine Document:

      In English

      In Arabic

      Auf Deutsch

      En français

      For the list of signatories:

      Churches in the Middle East: solidarity and witness for peace:

      Additional information: Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
      media@... <mailto:media@...>

      The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness
      and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of
      churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant,
      Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million
      Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman
      Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from
      the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.


      And From Ecumenical News International (Switzerland); www.eni.ch
      <http://www.eni.ch%0b>Israeli occupation a 'sin against God', say
      Palestinian Christian leaders

      Jerusalem (ENI). Palestinian Christian leaders have issued a call for an
      end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, which they described
      as, "a sin against God and against humanity," and have appealed for
      support from the world's churches.

      "The injustice against the Palestinian people, which is the Israeli
      occupation, is an evil that must be resisted," the Christian leaders
      said in a document that was almost two years in the making. "Resistance
      is a right and a duty for the Christian. But it is resistance with love
      as its logic," they said. "It is thus a creative resistance, for it must
      find human ways that engage the humanity of the enemy."

      The initiators of the statement, made public at an 11 December meeting
      in Bethlehem, have referred to the text as the "Kairos Palestine"
      document. "Kairos" is a Greek word used in the Bible for a God-given
      time of challenge, grace and opportunity.

      The organizers said that their statement echoes the Kairos document that
      South African churches issued in the mid-1980s, and which helped
      galvanise churches and the wider public in a concerted effort that
      eventually led to the end of apartheid.

      "It is a call to the international community worldwide to look at the
      plight of the Palestinians and put pressure on Israel to conform to
      international law," spokesperson and coordinator Rifat Kassis told
      Ecumenical News International.

      "Despite the talk about peace and the peace process conducted for 17
      years, nothing has happened and the situation continues deteriorating,"
      Kassis said. "It is the right time for a more ethical perspective on the
      conflict, and that should come from religious leaders."

      The full title of the document is, "A moment of truth: A word of faith,
      hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering".

      Signatories include the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in
      the region, Latin Patriarch emeritus Michel Sabbah; the Lutheran bishop
      of Jerusalem Munib Younan; and Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna of
      Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

      "The aim is to free both peoples [Israelis and Palestinians] from
      extremist positions of the different Israeli governments, bringing both
      to justice and reconciliation," the Palestinian Christian leaders
      stated. "In this spirit and with this dedication, we will eventually
      reach the longed-for resolution to our problems, as indeed happened in
      South Africa and with many other liberation movements in the world."
      The signatories accused Israel of "disregard of international law and
      international resolutions". Issues faced by Palestinians, they said,
      included the "separation wall" that cuts through Palestinian
      territories, Israeli settlements and "daily humiliation" at military

      Rejecting Israeli justification for Israel's actions being in
      self-defence, the Palestinian Christian leaders said, "There would be no
      resistance, no fear and no insecurity" if there were no occupation.

      "The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and
      humanity," the Palestinian Christian leaders stated, "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."

      The initiative brought together leaders of most Palestinian Christian
      denominations and prominent Christian theologians, said Kassis.

      The Geneva-based World Council of Churches helped facilitate the
      formation of the document, which also addresses churches worldwide
      including WCC members who may have differing views of the
      Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      The signatories, acknowledging that they are small in number, said their
      message was, "great and important" not only to Christians but also to
      Muslims and Jews. To their Muslim neighbours, they sent a "message of
      love and of living together," while at the same time urging them to
      reject fanaticism and extremism. They also called on the world to reject
      uninformed views of Muslims so that they were not, "stereotyped as the
      enemy nor caricatured as terrorists". To their Jewish neighbours, the
      signatories affirmed the possibility of a shared life despite past

      The Christian leaders condemned all forms of racism including
      anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and called on Christians world wide to,
      "say a word of truth and to take a position of truth with regard to
      Israel's occupation of Palestinian land".

      The writers also urged churches around the world, "not to offer a
      theological cover up for the injustice we suffer, for the sin of the
      occupation imposed on us".

      Kairos Palestine document:


      Kairos Palestine website: www.kairospalestine.ps

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.