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Christians of Palestine
Kairos Palestine Document
Heads of Jerusalem Chs
Sabeel


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World Council of Churches
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Two Ecumenical Letters
Presbyterian Church USA
Evangelical Lutheran
Mennonite Central Comm
United Church of Christ
AFSC
Christian Peacemaker  
 Teams-Palestine


Statement from Palestinian civil society, over 170 organizations

Jewish Statements
Collection of Statements and Letters
ICAHD
Jewish Voice for Peace
Peace Now
Tikkun
European Jews 
for a Just Peace

Not In My Name

United Nations
UN Resolutions
The Goldstone Report
Report on West Bank Barrier

Governments/Intl Bodies
Int'l Court of Justice re Separation Wall

Statement by US
Officials re Settlements
____________________
For a brief reading
Excerpts
from The Kairos Palestine Document:


Why now? Because today we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people.

The hearts of the faithful are filled with pain and with questioning: What is the international community doing?


We call out as Christians and as Palestinians...
to the international community, and to
our Christian brothers and sisters in the Churches around
the world.



The reality on the ground:

The separation wall erected on Palestinian territory...has turned our towns and villages into prisons....

Gaza...continues to live in inhuman conditions....

Israeli settlements ravage our land in the name of God and in the name of force...
depriving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and constituting an obstacle to any political solution.

Reality is the daily humiliation to which we are subjected at the military checkpoints....

Reality is the separation between members of the same family, making
family life impossible for thousands of Palestinians...

Religious liberty is severely restricted....
 
Refugees are also part of our reality....They have been waiting for their right of return, generation after generation.

The thousands of prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons are part of our reality.... when will they have their freedom?

Jerusalem is the heart of our reality.... Jerusalem continues to be emptied of its Palestinian citizens,
Christians and Muslims....Their homes are demolished or expropriated.

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.


In the face of this reality, Israel justifies its actions as self-defense,
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.



Our presence in this land, as Christian and Muslim Palestinians, is not accidental but rather deeply rooted in the history and geography of this land....

It was an injustice when we were driven out. The West sought to make amends for what Jews had endured in the countries of Europe, but it made amends on our account and in our land. They tried to correct an injustice and the result was a new injustice.



Our connectedness to this land is a natural right. It is not an ideological or a theological question only. It is a matter of life and death. There are those who do not agree with us, even defining us as enemies only because we declare that we want to live as free people in our land.





We declare that any use of the Bible to legitimize or support political options and positions that are based upon injustice, imposed by one person on another, or by one people on another, transform religion into human ideology and strip the Word of God of its holiness, its universality and truth.

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.



One of the most important signs of hope is the steadfastness of the generations, the belief in the justice of their cause and the continuity of memory,
which does not forget the "Nakba" (catastrophe) and its significance.

Likewise significant is the developing awareness among many Churches throughout the world
and their desire to know the truth about what is going on here
.





Even the new US position that has been announced by
President Obama, with a manifest desire to put an end to the tragedy, has not been able to make a change in our reality.


The clear Israeli response, refusing any solution, leaves no room for positive expectation. Despite this, our hope remains strong, because it is from God.




The mission of the Church is prophetic, to speak the Word of God courageously, honestly and lovingly in the local context and in the midst of daily events. If she does take sides, it is with the oppressed, to stand alongside them....




Love is seeing the face of God in every human being. Every person is my brother or my sister. However, seeing the face of God in everyone does not mean accepting evil or aggression on their part. Rather, this love seeks to correct the evil and stop the aggression.


The injustice against the Palestinian people which is the Israeli occupation, is an evil that must be resisted. It is an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed.



Through our love, we will overcome injustices and establish foundations for a new society....Our future and their future are one.




We call on Israel to give up its injustice towards us, not to twist the truth of reality of the occupation by pretending that it is a battle against terrorism. The roots of
"terrorism" are in the human injustice committed and in the evil of the occupation.


These must be removed if there be a sincere intention to remove "terrorism."





Palestinian civil organizations...
international organizations...
religious institutions call on individuals, companies and states to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation.
We understand this to integrate the logic of peaceful resistance.


These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly
sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the
existing evil....



The aim is to free both peoples from extremist positions of the different Israeli governments, bringing both to justice and reconciliation....

as indeed happened in
South Africa and with many other liberation movements in the world.







Our numbers are few but our message is great and important. Our land is in urgent need of love. Our love is a message to the Muslim and to the Jew, as well as to the world.







We condemn all forms of racism, whether religious or ethnic, including anti- Semitism and Islamophobia,
and we call on you to condemn it and oppose it in all its manifestations.


At the same time we call on you to say a word of truth...with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

...we see boycott and disinvestment as tools of non violence for justice, peace and security for all.







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 Kairos Palestine Document
learn more about the document & the people and action it has inspired,
at http://www.kairospalestine.ps/



(see excerpts in left hand column)


Background

The initiators of this document include a broad range of Palestinian Christian theologians and leaders who have been working for more than a year, guided by their hope in God's promise of justice and assisted by members of the South African Kairos group

The 1985 Kairos Document written in South Africa was a theological statement and a call  to churches around the world to work to end apartheid practices there. That document galvanized opposition to apartheid and has served as an example for others writing from their own contexts (Latin America, Zimbabwe, now Palestine) to call attention to what they perceive as unjust and oppressive practices. 

'Kairos' is one of two Greek words for time. Kairos refers to a significant time of opportunity, a decisive moment, rather than 'chronos,' which refers to the simple passage of time.


The Palestine Kairos Document also has roots in the World Council of Churches, which launched the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) in 2007:
- to help Palestinian Christians strengthen their presence in the Holy Land, and
- to mobilize churches around the world to work for peace with justice in the Middle East.

In 2007, PIEF issued The Amman Call, a document which detailed the realities on the ground for Palestinians under Israeli occupation. It also called on churches around the world to go beyond professing statements supporting peace and unite in action that would make a difference on the ground.


In 2008, PIEF gathered in Bern, Switzerland and produced a document titled
The Bern Perspective that challenges Christians to examine theologies that promote occupation and exclusive rights to land for one people alone.



From the authors of the Kairos Palestine Document:

As Palestinian Christians we hope that this document will provide the turning point to focus the efforts of all peace-loving peoples in the world, especially our Christian sisters and brothers.

We hope also that it will be welcomed positively and will receive strong support, as was the South Africa Kairos document launched in 1985, which, at that time proved to be a tool in the struggle against oppression and occupation. We believe that liberation from occupation is in the interest of all peoples in the region because the problem is not just a political one, but one in which human beings are destroyed.

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 Eminence Archbishop Atallah Hanna
  • Rev. Dr. Jamal Khader
  • Rev. Dr. Rafiq Khoury
  • Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
  • Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek
  • Rev. Dr. Yohana Katanacho
  • Rev. Fadi Diab
  • Dr. Jiries Khoury
  • Ms. Cedar Duaybis
  • Ms. Nora Kort
  • Ms. Lucy Thaljieh
  • Mr. Nidal Abu Zuluf
  • Mr. Yusef Daher
  • Mr. Rifat Kassis - Coordinator
Find the full list of signers and supporters of the document; become a supporter yourself:    http://www.kairospalestine.ps/



The Kairos Palestine Document
A moment of truth:
A word of faith, hope and love
from the heart of Palestinian suffering


Download this document

Download the Summary and Guide for Further Study


Introduction

We, a group of Christian Palestinians, 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.

Why now? Because today we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the
Palestinian people. The decision-makers content themselves with managing the crisis
rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it.
The hearts of the faithful are filled with pain and with questioning: What is the
international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine, in Israel
and in the Arab world doing? What is the Church doing? The problem is not just a
political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of
concern to the Church.

We address ourselves to our brothers and sisters, members of our Churches in
this land. We call out as Christians and as Palestinians to our religious and political
leaders, to our Palestinian society and to the Israeli society, to the international
community, and to our Christian brothers and sisters in the Churches around the
world .

1. The reality on the ground

1.1 “They say: 'Peace, peace' when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). These days,
everyone is speaking about peace in the Middle East and the peace process. So far,
however, these are simply words; the reality is one of Israeli occupation of Palestinian
territories, deprivation of our freedom and all that results from this situation:

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.

1.1.5 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-defense,
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.

2. A word of faith

We believe in one God, a good and just God

2.1 We believe in God, one God, Creator of the universe and of humanity. We
believe in a good and just God, who loves each one of his creatures. We believe that
every human being is created in God’s image and likeness and that every one's dignity
is derived from the dignity of the Almighty One. We believe that this dignity is one
and the same in each and all of us. This means for us, here and now, in this land in
particular, that God created us not so that we might engage in strife and conflict but
rather that we might come and know and love one another, and together build up the
land in love and mutual respect.

2.1.1 We also believe in God's eternal Word, His only Son, our Lord Jesus
Christ, whom God sent as the Saviour of the world.

2.1.2 We believe in the Holy Spirit, who accompanies the Church and all
humanity on its journey. It is the Spirit that helps us to understand Holy Scripture,
both Old and New Testaments, showing their unity, here and now. The Spirit makes
manifest the revelation of God to humanity, past, present and future.
How do we understand the word of God?

2.2 We believe that God has spoken to humanity, here in our country: "Long
ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in
these last days God has spoken to us by a Son, whom God appointed heir of all things,
through whom he also created the worlds" (Heb. 1:1-2)

2.2.1 We, Christian Palestinians, believe, like all Christians throughout the
world, that Jesus Christ came in order to fulfil the Law and the Prophets. He is the
Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and in his light and with the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, we read the Holy Scriptures. We meditate upon and
interpret Scripture just as Jesus Christ did with the two disciples on their way to
Emmaus. As it is written in the Gospel according to Saint Luke: "Then beginning with
Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the
scriptures" (Lk 24:27)

2.2.2 Our Lord Jesus Christ came, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was
near. He provoked a revolution in the life and faith of all humanity. He came with "a
new teaching" (Mk 1:27), casting a new light on the Old Testament, on the themes that
relate to our Christian faith and our daily lives, themes such as the promises, the
election, the people of God and the land. We believe that the Word of God is a living
Word, casting a particular light on each period of history, manifesting to Christian
believers what God is saying to us here and now. For this reason, it is unacceptable to
transform the Word of God into letters of stone that pervert the love of God and His
providence in the life of both peoples and individuals. This is precisely the error in
fundamentalist Biblical interpretation that brings us death and destruction when the
word of God is petrified and transmitted from generation to generation as a dead letter.
This dead letter is used as a weapon in our present history in order to deprive us of our
rights in our own land.

Our land has a universal mission

2.3 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 fulfilment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
 
2.3.1 God sent the patriarchs, the prophets and the apostles to this land so that
they might carry forth a universal mission to the world. Today we constitute three
religions in this land, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Our land is God’s land, as is the
case with all countries in the world. It is holy inasmuch as God is present in it, for God
alone is holy and sanctifier. It is the duty of those of us who live here, to respect the
will of God for this land. It is our duty to liberate it from the evil of injustice and war.
It is God's land and therefore it must be a land of reconciliation, peace and love. This
is indeed possible. God has put us here as two peoples, and God gives us the capacity,
if we have the will, to live together and establish in it justice and peace, making it in
reality God's land: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those
who live in it" (Ps. 24:1).

2.3.2 Our presence in this land, as Christian and Muslim Palestinians, is not
accidental but rather deeply rooted in the history and geography of this land, resonant
with the connectedness of any other people to the land it lives in. It was an injustice
when we were driven out. The West sought to make amends for what Jews had
endured in the countries of Europe, but it made amends on our account and in our
land. They tried to correct an injustice and the result was a new injustice.

2.3.3 Furthermore, we know that certain theologians in the West try to attach a
biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights. Thus, the
promises, according to their interpretation, have become a menace to our very
existence. The "good news" in the Gospel itself has become "a harbinger of death" for
us. We call on these theologians to deepen their reflection on the Word of God and to
rectify their interpretations so that they might see in the Word of God a source of life
for all peoples.

2.3.4 Our connectedness to this land is a natural right. It is not an ideological
or a theological question only. It is a matter of life and death. There are those who do
not agree with us, even defining us as enemies only because we declare that we want
to live as free people in our land. We suffer from the occupation of our land because
we are Palestinians. And as Christian Palestinians we suffer from the wrong
interpretation of some theologians. Faced with this, our task is to safeguard the Word
of God as a source of life and not of death, so that "the good news" remains what it is,
"good news" for us and for all. In face of those who use the Bible to threaten our
existence as Christian and Muslim Palestinians, we renew our faith in God because we
know that the word of God can not be the source of our destruction.

2.4 Therefore, we declare that any use of the Bible to legitimize or support
political options and positions that are based upon injustice, imposed by one person on
another, or by one people on another, transform religion into human ideology and strip
the Word of God of its holiness, its universality and truth.

2.5 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.

3. Hope

3.1 Despite the lack of even a glimmer of positive expectation, our hope
remains strong. The present situation does not promise any quick solution or the end
of the occupation that is imposed on us. Yes, the initiatives, the conferences, visits and
negotiations have multiplied, but they have not been followed up by any change in our
situation and suffering. Even the new US position that has been announced by
President Obama, with a manifest desire to put an end to the tragedy, has not been able
to make a change in our reality. The clear Israeli response, refusing any solution,
leaves no room for positive expectation. Despite this, our hope remains strong,
because it is from God. God alone is good, almighty and loving and His goodness will
one day be victorious over the evil in which we find ourselves. As Saint Paul said: "If
God is for us, who is against us? (…) Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long" (…) For I am
convinced that (nothing) in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of
God" (Rom. 8:31, 35, 36, 39).
What is the meaning of hope?

3.2 Hope within us means first and foremost our faith in God and secondly our
expectation, despite everything, for a better future. Thirdly, it means not chasing after
illusions – we realize that release is not close at hand. Hope is the capacity to see God
in the midst of trouble, and to be co-workers with the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in
us. From this vision derives the strength to be steadfast, remain firm and work to
change the reality in which we find ourselves. Hope means not giving in to evil but
rather standing up to it and continuing to resist it. We see nothing in the present or
future except ruin and destruction. We see the upper hand of the strong, the growing
orientation towards racist separation and the imposition of laws that deny our
existence and our dignity. We see confusion and division in the Palestinian position.
If, despite all this, we do resist this reality today and work hard, perhaps the
destruction that looms on the horizon may not come upon us.
Signs of hope

3.3 The Church in our land, her leaders and her faithful, despite her weakness
and her divisions, does show certain signs of hope. Our parish communities are vibrant
and most of our young people are active apostles for justice and peace. In addition to
the individual commitment, our various Church institutions make our faith active and
present in service, love and prayer.

3.3.1 Among the signs of hope are the local centres of theology, with a religious and social character. They are numerous in our different Churches. The ecumenical spirit, even if still hesitant, shows itself more and more in the meetings of our different Church families.

3.3.2 We can add to this the numerous meetings for inter-religious dialogue,
Christian–Muslim dialogue, which includes the religious leaders and a part of the
people. Admittedly, dialogue is a long process and is perfected through a daily effort
as we undergo the same sufferings and have the same expectations. There is also
dialogue among the three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as
different dialogue meetings on the academic or social level. They all try to breach the
walls imposed by the occupation and oppose the distorted perception of human beings
in the heart of their brothers or sisters.

3.3.3 One of the most important signs of hope is the steadfastness of the
generations, the belief in the justice of their cause and the continuity of memory,
which does not forget the "Nakba" (catastrophe) and its significance. Likewise
significant is the developing awareness among many Churches throughout the world
and their desire to know the truth about what is going on here.

3.3.4 In addition to that, we see a determination among many to overcome the
resentments of the past and to be ready for reconciliation once justice has been
restored. Public awareness of the need to restore political rights to the Palestinians is
increasing, and Jewish and Israeli voices, advocating peace and justice, are raised in
support of this with the approval of the international community. True, these forces for
justice and reconciliation have not yet been able to transform the situation of injustice,
but they have their influence and may shorten the time of suffering and hasten the time
of reconciliation.

The mission of the Church

3.4 Our Church is a Church of people who pray and serve. This prayer and
service is prophetic, bearing the voice of God in the present and future. Everything
that happens in our land, everyone who lives there, all the pains and hopes, all the
injustice and all the efforts to stop this injustice, are part and parcel of the prayer of
our Church and the service of all her institutions. Thanks be to God that our Church
raises her voice against injustice despite the fact that some desire her to remain silent,
closed in her religious devotions.

3.4.1 The mission of the Church is prophetic, to speak the Word of God
courageously, honestly and lovingly in the local context and in the midst of daily
events. If she does take sides, it is with the oppressed, to stand alongside them, just as
Christ our Lord stood by the side of each poor person and each sinner, calling them to
repentance, life, and the restoration of the dignity bestowed on them by God and that
no one has the right to strip away.

3.4.2 The mission of the Church is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, a
kingdom of justice, peace and dignity. Our vocation as a living Church is to bear
witness to the goodness of God and the dignity of human beings. We are called to pray
and to make our voice heard when we announce a new society where human beings
believe in their own dignity and the dignity of their adversaries.

3.4.3 Our Church points to the Kingdom, which cannot be tied to any earthly
kingdom. Jesus said before Pilate that he was indeed a king but "my kingdom is not
from this world" (Jn 18:36). Saint Paul says: "The Kingdom of God is not food and
drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom.14:17). Therefore,
religion cannot favour or support any unjust political regime, but must rather promote
justice, truth and human dignity. It must exert every effort to purify regimes where
human beings suffer injustice and human dignity is violated. The Kingdom of God on
earth is not dependent on any political orientation, for it is greater and more inclusive
than any particular political system.

3.4.4 Jesus Christ said: "The Kingdom of God is among you" (Luke 17:21).
This Kingdom that is present among us and in us is the extension of the mystery of
salvation. It is the presence of God among us and our sense of that presence in
everything we do and say. It is in this divine presence that we shall do what we can
until justice is achieved in this land.

3.4.5 The cruel circumstances in which the Palestinian Church has lived and
continues to live have required the Church to clarify her faith and to identify her
vocation better. We have studied our vocation and have come to know it better in the
midst of suffering and pain: today, we bear the strength of love rather than that of
revenge, a culture of life rather than a culture of death. This is a source of hope for us,
for the Church and for the world.

3.5 The Resurrection is the source of our hope .Just as Christ rose in victory
over death and evil, so too we are able, as each inhabitant of this land is able, to
vanquish the evil of war. We will remain a witnessing, steadfast and active Church in
the land of the Resurrection.

4. Love

The commandment of love
 
4.1 Christ our Lord said: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one
another" (Jn 13:34). He has already showed us how to love and how to treat our
enemies. He said: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour
and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who
persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his
sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the
unrighteous (…) Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:4547).
Saint Paul also said: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil" (Rom. 12:17). And
Saint Peter said: "Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but on the contrary,
repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called" (1 Pet. 3:9).

Resistance

4.2 This word is clear. Love is the commandment of Christ our Lord to us and
it includes both friends and enemies. This must be clear when we find ourselves in
circumstances where we must resist evil of whatever kind.

4.2.1 Love is seeing the face of God in every human being. Every person is my
brother or my sister. However, seeing the face of God in everyone does not mean
accepting evil or aggression on their part. Rather, this love seeks to correct the evil and
stop the aggression.

The injustice against the Palestinian people which is the Israeli occupation, is
an evil that must be resisted. It is an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed.
Primary responsibility for this rests with the Palestinians themselves suffering
occupation. Christian love invites us to resist it. However, love puts an end to evil by
walking in the ways of justice. Responsibility lies also with the international community, because international law regulates relations between peoples today.
Finally responsibility lies with the perpetrators of the injustice; they must liberate
themselves from the evil that is in them and the injustice they have imposed on others.

4.2.2 When we review the history of the nations, we see many wars and much
resistance to war by war, to violence by violence. The Palestinian people has gone the
way of the peoples, particularly in the first stages of its struggle with the Israeli
occupation. However, it also engaged in peaceful struggle, especially during the first
Intifada. We recognize that all peoples must find a new way in their relations with
each other and the resolution of their conflicts. The ways of force must give way to the
ways of justice. This applies above all to the peoples that are militarily strong, mighty
enough to impose their injustice on the weaker.

4.2.3 We say that our option as Christians in the face of the Israeli occupation
is to resist. Resistance is a right and a duty for the Christian. But it is resistance with
love as its logic. It is thus a creative resistance for it must find human ways that
engage the humanity of the enemy. Seeing the image of God in the face of the enemy
means taking up positions in the light of this vision of active resistance to stop the
injustice and oblige the perpetrator to end his aggression and thus achieve the desired
goal, which is getting back the land, freedom, dignity and independence.

4.2.4 Christ our Lord has left us an example we must imitate. We must resist
evil but he taught us that we cannot resist evil with evil. This is a difficult
commandment, particularly when the enemy is determined to impose himself and
deny our right to remain here in our land. It is a difficult commandment yet it alone
can stand firm in the face of the clear declarations of the occupation authorities that
refuse our existence and the many excuses these authorities use to continue imposing
occupation upon us.

4.2.5 Resistance to the evil of occupation is integrated, then, within this
Christian love that refuses evil and corrects it. It resists evil in all its forms with
methods that enter into the logic of love and draw on all energies to make peace. We
can resist through civil disobedience. We do not resist with death but rather through
respect of life. We respect and have a high esteem for all those who have given their
life for our nation. And we affirm that every citizen must be ready to defend his or her
life, freedom and land.

4.2.6 Palestinian civil organizations, as well as international organizations,
NGOs and certain religious institutions call on individuals, companies and states to
engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything
produced by the occupation. We understand this to integrate the logic of peaceful
resistance. These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly
sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the
existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice. The aim is to
free both peoples from extremist positions of the different Israeli governments,
bringing both to justice and reconciliation. 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.

4.3 Through our love, we will overcome injustices and establish foundations
for a new society both for us and for our opponents. Our future and their future are
one. Either the cycle of violence that destroys both of us or peace that will benefit
both. We call on Israel to give up its injustice towards us, not to twist the truth of
reality of the occupation by pretending that it is a battle against terrorism. The roots of
"terrorism" are in the human injustice committed and in the evil of the occupation.

These must be removed if there be a sincere intention to remove "terrorism". We call
on the people of Israel to be our partners in peace and not in the cycle of interminable
violence. Let us resist evil together, the evil of occupation and the infernal cycle of
violence.

5. Our word to our brothers and sisters

5.1 We all face, today, a way that is blocked and a future that promises only
woe. Our word to all our Christian brothers and sisters is a word of hope, patience,
steadfastness and new action for a better future. Our word is that we, as Christians we
carry a message, and we will continue to carry it despite the thorns, despite blood and
daily difficulties. We place our hope in God, who will grant us relief in His own time.
At the same time, we continue to act in concord with God and God’s will, building,
resisting evil and bringing closer the day of justice and peace.

5.2 We say to our Christian brothers and sisters: This is a time for repentance.
Repentance brings us back into the communion of love with everyone who suffers, the
prisoners, the wounded, those afflicted with temporary or permanent handicaps, the
children who cannot live their childhood and each one who mourns a dear one. The
communion of love says to every believer in spirit and in truth: if my brother is a
prisoner I am a prisoner; if his home is destroyed, my home is destroyed; when my
brother is killed, then I too am killed. We face the same challenges and share in all that
has happened and will happen. Perhaps, as individuals or as heads of Churches, we
were silent when we should have raised our voices to condemn the injustice and share
in the suffering. This is a time of repentance for our silence, indifference, lack of
communion, either because we did not persevere in our mission in this land and
abandoned it, or because we did not think and do enough to reach a new and integrated
vision and remained divided, contradicting our witness and weakening our word.
Repentance for our concern with our institutions, sometimes at the expense of our
mission, thus silencing the prophetic voice given by the Spirit to the Churches.

5.3 We call on Christians to remain steadfast in this time of trial, just as we
have throughout the centuries, through the changing succession of states and
governments. Be patient, steadfast and full of hope so that you might fill the heart of
every one of your brothers or sisters who shares in this same trial with hope. "Always
be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the
hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15). Be active and, provided this conforms to love,
participate in any sacrifice that resistance asks of you to overcome our present travail ..

5.4 Our numbers are few but our message is great and important. Our land is in
urgent need of love. Our love is a message to the Muslim and to the Jew, as well as to
the world.

5.4.1Our message to the Muslims is a message of love and of living together
and a call to reject fanaticism and extremism. It is also a message to the world that
Muslims are neither to be stereotyped as the enemy nor caricatured as terrorists but
rather to be lived with in peace and engaged with in dialogue.

5.4.2 Our message to the Jews tells them: Even though we have fought one
another in the recent past and still struggle today, we are able to love and live together.
We can organize our political life, with all its complexity, according to the logic of
this love and its power, after ending the occupation and establishing justice.

5.4.3 The word of faith says to anyone engaged in political activity: human
beings were not made for hatred. It is not permitted to hate, neither is it permitted to
kill or to be killed. The culture of love is the culture of accepting the other. Through it
we perfect ourselves and the foundations of society are established .

6. Our word to the Churches of the world

6.1 Our word to the Churches of the world is firstly a word of gratitude for the
solidarity you have shown toward us in word, deed and presence among us. It is a
word of praise for the many Churches and Christians who support the right of the
Palestinian people for self determination. It is a message of solidarity with those
Christians and Churches who have suffered because of their advocacy for law and
justice .

However, it is also a call to repentance; to revisit fundamentalist theological
positions that support certain unjust political options with regard to the Palestinian
people. It is a call to stand alongside the oppressed and preserve the word of God as
good news for all rather than to turn it into a weapon with which to slay the oppressed.
The word of God is a word of love for all His creation. God is not the ally of one
against the other, nor the opponent of one in the face of the other. God is the Lord of
all and loves all, demanding justice from all and issuing to all of us the same
commandments. We ask our sister Churches not to offer a theological cover-up for the
injustice we suffer, for the sin of the occupation imposed upon us. Our question to our
brothers and sisters in the Churches today is: Are you able to help us get our freedom
back, for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace,
security and love?

6.2 In order to understand our reality, we say to the Churches: Come and see.
We will fulfil our role to make known to you the truth of our reality, receiving you as
pilgrims coming to us to pray, carrying a message of peace, love and reconciliation.
You will know the facts and the people of this land, Palestinians and Israelis alike.

6.3 We condemn all forms of racism, whether religious or ethnic, including
anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and we call on you to condemn it and oppose it in all
its manifestations. At the same time we call on you to say a word of truth and to take a
position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. As we have
already said, we see boycott and disinvestment as tools of non violence for justice,
peace and security for all.

7. Our word to the international community
 
7. 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.

8. Jewish and Muslim religious leaders

8. Finally, we address an appeal to the religious and spiritual leaders, Jewish
and Muslim, with whom we share the same vision that every human being is created
by God and has been given equal dignity. Hence the obligation for each of us to
defend the oppressed and the dignity God has bestowed on them. Let us together try to
rise up above the political positions that have failed so far and continue to lead us on
the path of failure and suffering.

9. A call to our Palestinian people and to the Israelis

9.1 This is a call to see the face of God in each one of God’s creatures and
overcome the barriers of fear or race in order to establish a constructive dialogue and
not remain within the cycle of never-ending manoeuvres that aim to keep the situation
as it is. Our appeal is to reach a common vision, built on equality and sharing, not on
superiority, negation of the other or aggression, using the pretext of fear and security.
We say that love is possible and mutual trust is possible. Thus, peace is possible and
definitive reconciliation also. Thus, justice and security will be attained for all.

9.2 Education is important. Educational programs must help us to get to know
the other as he or she is rather than through the prism of conflict, hostility or religious
fanaticism. The educational programs in place today are infected with this hostility.
The time has come to begin a new education that allows one to see the face of God in
the other and declares that we are capable of loving each other and building our future
together in peace and security.

9.3 Trying to make the state a religious state, Jewish or Islamic, suffocates the
state, confines it within narrow limits, and transforms it into a state that practices
discrimination and exclusion, preferring one citizen over another. We appeal to both
religious Jews and Muslims: let the state be a state for all its citizens, with a vision
constructed on respect for religion but also equality, justice, liberty and respect for
pluralism and not on domination by a religion or a numerical majority.

9.4 To the leaders of Palestine we say that current divisions weaken all of us
and cause more sufferings. Nothing can justify these divisions. For the good of the
people, which must outweigh that of the political parties, an end must be put to
division. We appeal to the international community to lend its support towards this
union and to respect the will of the Palestinian people as expressed freely.

9.5 Jerusalem is the foundation of our vision and our entire life. She is the city
to which God gave a particular importance in the history of humanity. She is the city
towards which all people are in movement – and where they will meet in friendship
and love in the presence of the One Unique God, according to the vision of the prophet
Isaiah: "In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the
highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall
stream to it (…) He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many
peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning
hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more" (Is. 2: 2-5). Today, the city is inhabited by two peoples of three religions; and it
is on this prophetic vision and on the international resolutions concerning the totality
of Jerusalem that any political solution must be based. This is the first issue that
should be negotiated because the recognition of Jerusalem's sanctity and its message
will be a source of inspiration towards finding a solution to the entire problem, which
is largely a problem of mutual trust and ability to set in place a new land in this land of
God.

10. Hope and faith in God

10. 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.

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