The Continuing Nakba: Sabeel-Kairos

2018-06-30 13.04.28-2This year’s annual Sabeel-Kairos conference was held at CMS House in Oxford in June. The event was heavily oversubscribed, indicating perhaps the growing awareness of, and concern for, the on-going failure, after 70 years, to bring an end to the Palestinian Nakba or catastrophe. 

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Speakers included, Canon Naim Ateek, the founder of Sabeel; Revd Chris Rose, director of Amos Trust and chair of Sabeel-Kairos UK; Daphna Baram, the Director of ICAHD UK; Carl Sabbagh, the Palestinian-British writer, journalist and television producer; Phoebe Rison, Sabeel-Kairos’ temporary Advocacy Officer; and Alys Estape from the BNC.

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In his key-note address, Nail Ateek summarised his new book, ‘A Palestinian Theology of Liberation’, urging those involved in Sabeel-Kairos to persevere in exposing injustice in Palestine, but always with the aim of creating a just peace for all the people of the land.

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As he states in the dedication of his book, his message is for all those who have a heart for Palestine and is addressed to ‘Jews, Muslims, Christians and all people of goodwill who believe in the power of non-violence and possess the courage to stand and act for justice and peace for all the people of the land, and especially for the liberation of the Palestinian people.’

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Rev Naim reminded us that ‘when we love, we do justice automatically’ and that we must ‘do justice and love mercy – not the other way around as so many do nowadays’.  Rev Naim spoke of our individual duty to stand-up and do what we can, calling on us to act on Boycotts, Sanctions and Divestments as well as to engage in Morally Responsible Investment.

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He said that ‘the tragedy is when you know there is injustice but you are too afraid to do anything’, reminding us of the Palestinians’ call for costly solidarity.  Rev Naim also talked about our specific collective duty as British people, and as Christians, as the UK’s part in the current situation was significant and that ‘Christian Zionism started in the UK, in the Anglican Church’.  He rounded off his talk with his seven dimensions of Palestinian Liberation Theology;

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  • Justice linked to love
  • Justice linked to Mercy
  • Justice linked to Truth
  • Justice linked to Security
  • Justice linked to Non-violence
  • Justice linked to Peace
  • Justice linked to Reconciliation

Read a summary of the Sabeel-Kairos Conference here

Stephen was a former trustee of Friends of Sabeel UK and co-authored the Sabeel Statement on Christian Zionism. He also took the photos at the conference.