The Kairos Document: A Cry for Action by the Palestinian Christian Community

Written by admin on January 28th, 2010

Members of Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican and Baptist traditions in the Palestinian Christian community issued a statement in Bethlehem December 11th urging that all parties take immediate, concrete steps to end Israel’s occupation.  The statement embodied Palestinian frustration with the Obama Administration’s failure to change the reality on the ground.  The Christian group concluded that the “clear Israeli response [of] refusing any solution, leaves no room for positive expectation.”

Concluding that current attempts to end the occupation have “reached a dead end,” the “Palestine Kairos Document” condemns decision-makers who “are content with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it.” The Palestinian crisis was identified to be not merely a political one but “a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the Church.”

Prompting the document’s publication was the “reality” of Israel’s occupation, including the continuing confiscation of Palestinian land and water, turning “our towns and villages into prisons,” the “daily humiliation” of military checkpoints, “making family life impossible for thousands of Palestinians,” and severe restrictions on religious liberty. Jerusalem was declared to be “the heart of our reality” but which “continues to be emptied of its Palestinian citizens, Christians and Muslims.” It “has become a city of discrimination and exclusion, a source of struggle rather than peace.”

Israel’s “disregard of international law and international resolutions is decried as well as the paralysis of the Arab world and the international community in the face of this contempt.” Rejecting Israeli justifications that its actions are taken in self-defense, the statement argued that “if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity.” The authors acknowledged deep political divisions within the Palestinian community but faulted the international community for exacerbating such dissension by refusing to respect the outcome of the “democratic and legal elections” that brought Hamas to power.

The document condemns Christian Zionist theology in support for Israel’s occupation, saying that “their interpretation, have become a menace to our very existence” and a ‘harbinger of death.” Asserting that the “occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity,” the statement affirms  that “our presence in this land, as Christian and Muslim Palestinians, is not accidental but rather deeply rooted in the history and geography of this land, resonant with the connectedness of any other people to the land it lives in.” Because the occupation is “an evil” that must be “removed,” the statement argues that Christians have a “right” and a “duty to resist” the occupation.

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