Launch of Historic Palestine Kairos Document

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Press Release…

LAUNCH OF HISTORIC PALESTINE KAIROS DOCUMENT BY PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN LEADERS

JERUSALEM/LONDON, 8 DECEMBER 2009

Call by Palestinian Christians for a just peace inspired by anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa

  • 11 December 2009 is the launch of the Palestinian Kairos document, “A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering”.
  • 15 senior inter-denominational Palestinian Christian leaders co-author this historic call, 24 years after South African theologians published their Kairos Document.
  • Christian initiative calls the Israeli occupation a “sin”, urges Western Church to “stand alongside” the “oppressed”, including use of boycott and disinvestment.

As Christmas approaches, the Western Church looks towards Bethlehem and remembers not just the events of 2,000 years ago, but also today’s ‘little town’ and the Palestinian Christians living under Israeli occupation.

On 11 December 2009, the Palestinian Church will issue a historic call, with the launch of the Palestinian Christian Initiative document: “A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering”.

Co-authored by over a dozen Palestinian church leaders and theologians from various denominations, and the result of an 18 month-drafting process, this Palestinian ‘Kairos Document’ is a “cry of hope in the absence of all hope”, addressed to Palestinians, Israelis, and “Christian brothers and sisters in the Churches around the world”.

The ceremony marking the official publication of the Palestine Kairos Document will be introduced by His Beatitude Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, one of the document’s co-authors. Other contributors to the initiative include Lutherans Bishop Dr. Munib Younan and Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna, the Anglican Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, and the Baptist Rev. Dr. Yohana Katanacho.

The document declares “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”, distorting “the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier just as it distorts this image in the Palestinian living under occupation”.

As well as addressing Palestinian Christians, Palestinian Muslims, and Israeli Jews, a key part of the Palestinian Kairos call is to the Church in the West. The document criticises those “who use the Bible to threaten our existence as Christian and Muslim Palestinians”, trying to “attach a biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights”.

At the same time as calling for “repentance”, the declaration affirms and celebrates the “prophetic” mission of the Church; “to speak the Word of God courageously, honestly and lovingly in the local context and in the midst of daily events”, and to “stand alongside” the “oppressed”.

The Palestinian Kairos Document asks a question to Christians internationally: “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?” They urge Christians to “take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land”, including the use of “boycott and disinvestment as tools of non violence for justice, peace and security for all”.

The Palestinian Christian leaders describe a message of “love and living together” to the Muslims and Jews of the Holy Land, condemning “all forms of racism”. The Palestine Kairos call is for a “common vision, built on equality and sharing, not on superiority, negation of the other or aggression, using the pretext of fear and security”. It is thus that “justice and security will be attained for all”.

Rifat Kassis, coordinator of the initiative and President of Defence for Children International (DCI)’s International Executive Council, says he hopes that this document will be “a turning point in the relations between the churches worldwide and the Palestinian people”. Kassis affirmed that “apathy and silence will not help bring a resolution and a just peace”.

In the UK, the Palestinian Kairos Document is endorsed by the Amos Trust and its new initiative ‘A Just Peace for Palestine’. Rev. Canon Garth Hewitt hailed the Palestinian Christian document as “a call for the world and particularly the worldwide Christian community to wake up to what is happening in Palestine”. Hewitt said that “this document demands a response especially from Christian leaders” and “brings the challenge ‘now is the time to speak up’”.

A Just Peace for Palestine is a multi-agency campaign for all those who want to be involved in supporting a just resolution to the conflict. It is our belief that a just peace for Palestine will also mean peace and security for Israelis, and that now is a critical time for churches and faith groups to speak up – and act.

AJPFP is an Amos Trust initiative.

See www.justpeaceforpalestine.org

Media contact details for the Palestine Kairos Document
Rifat Kassis, Palestine: +972 599 469 380
Email: kalimatuna@gmail.com



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