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Kairos Palestine – A Moment of Truth

Kairos Palestine – A Moment of Truth: We Hear the Cry of our Children”
Lois Griffiths

My husband, Martin, and I follow very closely what's happening in the Middle East, a special interest of ours ever since we went to Israel and the West Bank ourselves. We've been 4 times, 4 consecutive years, starting 2009. Each time we combined independent travel with participating in an educational tour, 3 times with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and once with Joint Advocacy Initiative olive harvesting project.
We met people, Palestinians and Israeli human rights activists. We learned things and saw things that don't get mentioned in mainsteam media. Ever since our visits we've talked to anyone or any groups who will listen to us. We read avidly, learn more every day.

Quoting Arundhati Roy, “The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way you are accountable.”

That's why I've written this blog.

In 1985, South African Churches were desperate to inform the outside world about the suffering of the people. They issued what they called, the South African Kairos Declaration. The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos , chronological time and kairos. Kairos signifies a proper or opportune time, the propitious moment for action.
The opening lines were, “ The time has come. The moment of truth The KAIROS moment has arrived. South Africa has been plunged into a crisis that is shaking the foundations ...”

In the same spirit, in 2009 Palestinian church leaders issued “Kairos Palestine – A Moment of Truth: We Hear the Cry of our Children”. Kairos Palestine
detailed the harsh conditions imposed on Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, and called on "the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades."

They could have added, faced being lied about.

The Palestinian Christian leaders speak for all Palestinians. Dr Bernard Sabella, the director of DSPR Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees , a partner of CWS, has explained, "When we talk to one another, live next to one another, work with one another, we don't work as Muslims and Christians, but we work as Palestinians. We live it out as Palestinians. The struggle is not really a religious one ...”

Bishop Riah

Bishop Riah, former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem has pointed out that ,
“The Arab Palestinian Christians are part and parcel of the Arab Palestinian nation. We have the same history, the same culture, the same habits and the same hopes.”

Then, in 2017 8 years after Palestine Kairos and 100 years after the Balfour Declaration, the Christian churches of Palestine, in desperation, issued another plea, this time in the form of an Open Letter to the World Council of Churches (WCC).
“We are still suffering....We need you and we need you now more than ever. This is no time for shallow diplomacy.“

Now it is 2019, the 10th anniversary of the Kairos document. 10 years later and things are even worse, as the Palestinian churches pointed out in an Easter 2019 Kairos call. “ Last year, Israel passed the new nation-state law, 'the right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.'
This is apartheid legalized! It's in the open! It is clear for the world to see.”

Yet again, the Palestinians are pleading for international solidarity.
“It is time to unite in our response for justice and equality. This call is grounded in logic of love and is a call for non-violent resistance. We call on our sisters and brothers around the world to join the Kairos Global movement .”

Here is what the Kairos Churches are asking:
A) to inform and educate your community,and others... about the suffering of our Palestinian brothers and sisters

Well of course, you have to inform and educate yourself. And be unafraid to speak out. It does take courage.

B) Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with International Law and UN resolutions..

I myself have tried to pressure Superfund to divest from corporations that profit from the oppression of Palestinians.

C) Support the right of persons, corporations, nations to boycott Israel as an expression of their freedom of speech.

There is pressure in Germany and in some American states, to equate criticism of Israel with anti-semitism. The German government has passed legislation criminalizing support for BDS, labelling BDS as anti-Semitism. That's an old trick , to condemn criticism of the Israeli regime , condemn showing any desire to show solidarity with the Palestinian people as anti-Semitism. It's an old trick but it still creates a chilling effect.

D) The Palestinian churches are asking, pleading, for you to

Come and See..

They want you to visit them, to witness the reality of what life is like for them and their people.

There are alternative tours, like the ones we've been on. You can meet Palestinians whose houses have been demolished or taken over by Zionists, whose land has been confiscated, whose olives and other trees have been deliberately cut, who are denied access to their traditional water sources. You can learn so much from human rights lawyers: the shocking way children are abused, taken away in the middle of the night by IDF soldiers...the huge numbers of Palestinian prisoners, under 'administrative detention', no charges laid, no lawyers ...the way Palestinian schools are invaded... the every day humiliating restrictions on life...the violence of Israeli police, soldiers, settlers.
In the Negev, that's in Israel itself, you can meet Bedouin whose villages that existed and paid taxes before there even was an Israel, are classified as 'unrecognized', meaning no water, electricity, clinic or schools and facing threats of demolition.
As for Gaza, poor Gaza, the UN reports that it will be 'uninhabitable' by 2020. Many commentators say uninhabitable now. Noam Chomsky has described the Israeli regime's treatment of Gazans as sadism.

Whatever I try to say, the reality of the crisis facing Palestinians is worse. And will be worse tomorrow.

The plea by Palestinians for outside help is directed, not to politicians, but to global civil society, to people of good will, whether religious or not.

Professor Haidar Eid

In the words of Haidar Eid, Associate Professor of Literature at Gaza's al-Asqa University,
As we, Palestinians of Gaza, embark on our long walk to freedom, we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer rely on governments; instead, we request that the citizens of the world oppose these ongoing deadly crimes. In fact, we expect people of conscience and civil society organizations to put pressure on their governments until Israel is forced to abide by international law and international humanitarian law. It did work last century; without the intervention of the international community which was effective against apartheid in South Africa, Israel will continue its war crimes and crimes against humanity.”


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