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The past weeks haven been weeks of a lot of lobbying and advocating all around the world. Kairos Palestine is proud and thankful of its partners all around the world, who share our Call for a Just Peace and creative resistance against the illegal Israeli occupation. Clearly, the ongoing achievements of the worldwide Christian movement for Palestine can be seen as a success in countering increasing hegemonic and heavily biased narratives and attacks from the Israeli government and its worldwide lobby institutions. The BDS-resolutions in so many churches clearly give a signal to the world, that it is not right, neither morally nor legally, to occupy land and oppress the people living in it. With concrete actions like that of the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Universalists or the UCC South Africa and the Quakers, Baptists and United Church of Christ last year, we show the world that we all have a responsibility to work and campaign for justice and peace, not only in Palestine, but everywhere where life in dignity is endangered!
Let's remember the voice of Kairos Palestine: "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." (KP Document, Chapter 3.4.5)
"We ask the Mennonite Church Canada General Board, along with regional churches, congregations, and members—to avoid investing in or supporting companies that do business with Israeli settlements and the Israel Defense Forces, and companies that are profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian territories; and
We encourage the government of Canada to support measures that put pressure on Israel (including through economic sanctions) to end the occupation and work for a just peace, in accordance with international law.”Read more on Mondoweiss News
The GA has called the real estate company RE/MAX, a well known actor in the real estate trade of illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine, to stop selling properties in occupied Palestinian land in violation of International Law and official US policy. Just prior to the Assembly, RE/MAX confirmed already to take actions to "not longer receive any income from the sale of Jewish settlement properties in the West Bank."
[...] 3. Create resources that teach the church about its theology of peacemaking and nonviolence in relation to its historical decisions to boycott companies and/or their products, divest from holdings in corporations that profit from non-peaceful and violent pursuits, and otherwise call for sanctions by entities that have the power to effect positive change.
Unintimidated by the current climate of sever repressions targeting human rights activism for Palestine, the Presbyterians have proven that Churches can counter those attacks and that it is their responsibility to stand with the oppressed. A majority of over 70% has decided that BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) should be carefully studied thus defeating attempts to categorically reject it.
In addition to these great achievements in nonviolence, the GA approved a report submitted by the church’s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) supporting a focus on advancing human rights rather than focusing on prescribing a solution to the conflict (one vs. two states). This rights based approach is very much in line with the call of Kairos Palestine. We need to tell the world that any solution to the conflict will not be successful before the Israeli aggressive measures of oppression, human rights violations and occupation of territories finds an end.
With profound gratitude Kairos Palestine welcomes the initiative “Divestment from Corporations Complicit in the Violation Of Palestinian Rights” of the UU member group Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East. The resolution is calling for divestment of complicit companies profiting and supporting the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
In their General Assembly a majority of 54% voted in favor of the resolution. Taking in mind that this was the first initiative of such kind in the United Universalist Church, the vote can be seen as a huge success, even if it fell short of the two thirds needed for passage.
We are thrilled of the efforts from our partners, the Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East who have been campaigning and lobbying since many months for this initiative. We are with you on the path of justice, and support you to keep on to achieve actual divestment!
World Council of Churches condemns Christian Zionism
During the Central Committee Meeting in Trondheim, Norway, the World Council of Churches issued a statement regarding the standstill of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process.
The statement comes at a time when Israeli authorities and pro-Israeli groups have engaged in some strong criticism against WCC peace and justice campaigns in the Holy Land. The WCC has been heavily attacked by pro-Israeli groups as well as the Israeli government itself during the last months. Several WCC staff and delegates have been denied entry at Ben Gurion Airport and reported about aggressive, intimidating and abusive interrogation and treatment by the authorities, including detention for up to three days and deportation.
It also comes when tensions are rising in the region with increasing encroachment of illegal Israeli settlements into Palestinian areas and floundered peace talks along with flaring violence.
But despite all pressures of desperation and provocations, the WCC wants to keep on „encouraging and accompanying Palestinian people and communities in their efforts to resist occupation, including through economic measures such as divestment and boycotting goods produced in illegal settlements on occupied territories“, the statement reads. The whole statement can be read here
First South African Church, UCCSA decided to commit to BDS and Kairos Palestine
"We recognize that the Palestinian struggle is not simply a conflict, but an asymmetric struggle between an oppressor and the oppressed."
We also welcome the decision of the United Congregational Church of South Africa to commit to BDS and their response to Kairos Palestine! Kairos Palestine has always been closely connected to South Africa, we thank you for your ongoing partnership and friendship! Muna Nassar from Kairos Palestine addressed the conference with a keynote speech about the situation of Palestinian Christians and the oppression caused by the Israeli occupation. Kairos Palestine has been actively involved in the process, a sign of our mutual trust and friendship. In fact, the UCCSA was the only church in South Africa which supported the historic South African Kairos Call of 1985. where South African theologians asked the world to help ending apartheid. Until today, Kairos South Africa serves as an example of what is possible with a strong and united global Christian movement. The whole statement reads as follows: