Costly solidarity in Palestine Pt.1

Matt22

Palestinian Christians call World Council of Churches

Occ 17

and the ecumenical movement to ‘costly solidarity’
in this seemingly ‘impossible moment”

 

This will be part one of an evangelical wake up call to slumbering Christians in Canada, the USA and Europe.

 

Our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land have been waiting far too long for some tangible expression of solidarity.
The Canadian bishops have twiddled their thumbs as Palestine burns.Their limp abstractions about peace in Israel/Palestine is never followed up by any serious discipleship.

Like so many Catholic institutions and indeed other major Christian bodies seem immobilized by the predictable blowback of tribalists in the Jewish community and the biblical illiterates who espouse Christian Zionism.
When we discuss the Middle East we are neither pro-israel or pro-Palestine. We are simply pro-justiceJustice is a central concern of Jesus’ call of the reign of God. we need not be overly concerned about some negative criticism. The cross can never be denied.
2000 years ago Jesus warned us:

Jus44

 
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. Matt.23: 23, 24
Open letter from The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement

 

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)”
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

 
Background

 
As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

 

 

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We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

 
Hundred years later with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth – though not our memory –, millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba goes on.

 
Hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land!

 

Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock.

 
Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking – we have reached the “moment of impossible”, as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently:

 
Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning – a hundred years ago – on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?
Today is also an opportunity to remember the Amman Call which was proclaimed ten years ago. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity; those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that ten years later the situation has been worsening on on the ground and still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?

 
We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort towards peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem – the city of Emmanuel!

 
While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of this manipulating pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.

 
Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a heavy and painful price. We thank you for your efforts towards the refugees and towards ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

 
As we stand in front of this “impossible moment”, it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    What has happened in Palestine is the first chapter of the nightmare we all face, now that we have so many failed states in the Middle East- many thanks to the NATO ( yes that does include goody two shoes Canada) bombings.
    Ohh so simple Harper and Trudeau- don’t send in troops just bomb the daylights out of them. That’ll solve all problems! Geesh!

    There are countless Palestinian states now happening! The nice clean world we once knew no longer exists. Failure to act on Palestine has created sheer indifference throughout the Middle East and a lot of xenophobia exhibited by the Kelly Leeches of the West!


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