This statement was written with urgency by Palestinian Christian young adults from all across the land, expressing repentance and hope regarding the ongoing injustices. If you identify with this statement, it is yours to hold as well. We urge all to read and reflect seriously on its call.
“Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5 : 23-24)
Statement of Repentance and Hope
We Palestinian Christian young adults from the 48 territories, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza; cannot remain silent with what is happening in our community. Based on our understanding of our spiritual, ethical and national responsibilities, we declare the following:
The Board of Trustees of Sabeel-Kairos UK have written an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury questioning his silence over the last 11 days on the disproportionate violence against civilians in Palestine, and the lack of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people. You can read our letter, and share in this action here.
In the last 11 days we have witnessed once again an unprecedented level of violence towards civilians in the Holy Land.
Whilst people have been suffering in Israel and in the West Bank too, the lives of those in Gaza have once again been disproportionally affected. 219 Palestinians, including 63 children and 35 women (3 of whom were pregnant) have lost their lives. Tens of thousands have been displaced and made homeless once more. Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed, including 6 hospitals and 44 schools. This is unacceptable.
We welcome the news of the ceasefire, which we hope will hold and protect all civilians from more violence. But unless the root causes are addressed – namely Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, its siege of Gaza, and its discrimination against non-Jews inside the State of Israel, we will be back here, lamenting the next war very soon.
During the last 11 days, Churches around the world have been issuing statements of support and solidarity, and calling for the structural injustices in the Holy Land to be addressed. In the UK, the Methodists, United Reform Church, Catholics, Quakers and others have all spoken out, yet the Church of England has remained silent. In the letter below, written by the trustees of Sabeel-Kairos UK, we challenge that silence, and we ask those of you that are members of the Church of England to do so with us.
Peacemakers is partnering with the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YMCA in Palestine and Alternative Tourism Group (JAI-ATG) to promote their olive picking and olive tree planting programmes. To find out more visit their website.
This agricultural event is of special significance to the Palestinian economy when all energies and efforts are mobilized. The program aims to assist Palestinian farmers living close to illegal Israeli settlements who are vulnerable to attacks or land seizure.
Besides olive picking, the program features introductory presentations about the current situation in Palestine and the effects of the Apartheid Wall, tours in the old city of Jerusalem, Hebron, and Bethlehem, in addition to evening sessions, cultural event and social gatherings.
Bishop Azad Marshall of the Diocese of Raiwind has been unanimously elected Moderator of the Church of Pakistan (The Anglican Church of Pakistan became the United Church when it merged with three other denominations in 1970). This position has a three year term. He succeeds Bishop Humphrey Peters. Bishop Azad is also a valued member of the Peacemaker International Board of Reference.
In December 2016, Bishop Azad was honoured by the government of Pakistan for his work on human rights. He was one of 40 recipients of awards last weekend to mark International Human Rights Day. Bishop Azad received the Presidential Award for Human Rights from the President of Pakistan, Muhammad Mamnoon Hussain, during an award ceremony at the President’s House.
Bishop Azad is the President of National Council of Churches in Pakistan. “He has no doubt a long and continuous record of contributing to educational development and human rights in Pakistan,” a statement from the Diocese of Raiwind said. “We congratulate him and pray for his continuous ministry in Pakistan and beyond.”
The diocese thanked the Pakistan government “for recognising and nominating distinguished citizens committed to upholding the poor and the marginalized [and] for upholding their human rights.”
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:19-23)
Like other Western colonial-settler experiments, for over 70 years, Zionists have been systematically erasing the culture and history of indigenous Palestinians to justify their forced removal and the theft of their land. Ilan Pappe, in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, calls this ‘memorocide’ and in The Palestine Nakba, Nur Masalha elaborates,
“The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948… The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine.”
This is why books such as Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions are so vital in recording the memories and eyewitness accounts of Arabs and Palestinians who experienced the arrival of Western colonialists to the Middle East, were co-opted into their wars, witnessed the rise of Zionism and then became refugees in the Palestinian Nakba. Anita Damiani-Shanley’s book will most certainly help perpetuate their heritage and rightful historic claim to Palestine.
Ancestral Journeys is however much more than the story of two families, one Arab and the other Scottish joined in marriage. It traces the influence of missionaries, archaeologists, traders and colonialists competing with each other for a share of the Near East as the Ottoman Empire met its demise. Richly illuminated with family photos, the three main chapters trace the ancestral journeys of Damiani-Shanley’s extended family from Scotland and Lebanon to Iraq and then to Palestine. A fourth chapter traces the role of the Anglican Church in Palestine.
A graduate in Theology and Religious Studies, Mariam also has a postgraduate degree in Conflict Regulation in Divided Societies. Mariam has previously worked with Tearfund in their operational response in the Kurdish region of Iraq as well as working on the West and Central Africa desk. Mariam is a Technical Specialist for Peacebuilding, supporting peacebuilding projects in the Middle East, Central Asia, Latin America and West Africa – providing strategic and technical support to teams globally as well as conflict transformation training.
The Cambridge Centre for Palestine Studies (CCPS) is delighted to be launching its Book Discussion Series, which aims at presenting and discussing books published about pertinent issues to Palestine in various academic disciplines. Given the global pandemic, and until further notice, the CCPS Book Discussion Series will be held via online facilities. With the contribution of an author and other guests, a panel will be formed.
The output will be posted on the website of CCPS and will be an integral part of its resources. In order to receive the Zoom address, please make sure to let us know on: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Fairtrade Fortnight, on Friday 26th February, Kairos Reading is holding a Zoom event with two Palestinian speakers: Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh from the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Muhanad Al-Qaisy from the Keep Hope Alive Olive Tree Campaign. They will be talking on the effects of climate and other factors, including, of course, the occupation on cultivation and fairtrade issues in Palestine.
To register your interest for the event and to receive the Zoom link to the meeting, please email: email@example.com We are not charging for the event but we would encourage people to donate to either project or both.
Canon Garth Hewitt is a member of the Peacemaker Board of Reference and former founding trustee. Garth’s commitment to social justice pervades his music and led him to found the human rights charity Amos Trust in 1985. Having recently retired from Amos Trust, his focus now is on the Garth Hewitt Foundation. Garth’s catalogue of music is accessible here.