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Recently the UN voted to extend to the Palestinian people observer status in the United Nations. This vote has moved the process forward in some small way towards a just solution to the Palestinian issue. The vote coincided with the World Social Forum (WSF)-Free Palestine event held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Nov 28 - Dec 1, where Peace for Life, jointly with the Council for World Mission, facilitated a side-event in WSF focusing on the theme, “Muslim-Christian-Jewish Theological Encounter and South-South Alliance Building."
The well-attended workshop enabled renewed engagement with the Kairos Palestine document and highlighted reflections from Muslim and Jewish perspectives. Kairos Palestine was crafted by Palestinian theologians modeled after the concept of the original Kairos document emerging from the South African experience during the anti-Apartheid struggle. Presentations were also focused on the need to intentionally build alliances within the global South raising awareness among churches and faith communities to the challenges faced by Palestinian Christians within the wider struggle for a just end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The panel presentations featured Dr. Nancy Cardoso – Methodist theologian from Brazil, Mr. Rifat Kassis – General Coordinator of Kairos Palestine, and Mr. Nidal Abuzuluf – Manager of Joint Action Initiative – Palestine. Responses and reflections on Kairos Palestine were prepared by Muslim scholars in South Africa which produced a document “An Islamic Response to Kairos Palestine” and introduced by Stiaan van der Merwe from South Africa. In addition, a provocative and challenging paper on a Jewish response to Kairos Palestine by distinguished Jewish theologian Marc Ellis was was read by Rev. Randolf Turner of the Council for World Mission.