Prophetic 2017 church actions and Focus on Gaza
The hope of the World: 70 Years of faithful resistance

The past week, marking 70 years of the Palestinian loss of homeland and ongoing denial of human rights, has seen an outpouring of outrage, sorrow, love and solidarity on the part of civil society the world over. The Great March of Return of the people of Gaza exemplifies the Palestinian people's unwillingness to submit to tyranny -- a history of resistance that gives hope to all of humanity striving to create a world of equality and compassion. Palestine Portal continues to bring you reports and content on the responses of church bodies and organizations from across the world.  "When times are out of joint, wrote German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "the gospel makes itself known."  
"We call upon churches to be the conscience of humanity.''

Kairos Palestine has issued an urgent, direct and powerful call to the churches of the world on the 70th Anniversary of the Nakba.  "This is the 70th year of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people," begins the statement. "Our catastrophe remains ongoing."  

From the Kairos Statement on Gaza and Jerusalem:
 
"This is our call:  this is the cry of the Christian conscience in the Holy Land, the cry of all Christians, leaders and people, on this anniversary. 
 
We call upon the international community to remember its own resolutions and to abide by them. We call upon churches to be the conscience of humanity and hear the cry of the oppressed in the Holy Land.
 
We urge the international community to shoulder its responsibilities. We call upon it to exert every pressure...to lift the oppression from the people of Gaza and all the Palestinian people, to prevent death in the Holy Land, abandon its apartheid practices, and comply with international law.
 
We call on churches in our Holy Land and throughout the world to be courageous and faithful to their mission, to assume their responsibilities towards the Holy Land and all those who live in it, to bring through their prayers awareness of what is going on in the Holy Land, and to take effective steps towards justice, equality and peace in this land where the roots of their faith lie.
 
 Earlier this week we reported on the statement  "70 Years On:  Seeking a Hopeful Future in a Time of Yearning"  issued by fourteen U.S. Christian denominations.   Marking 70 years since the establishment of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba, the signers confess that  "we have not always done all that we can to amplify the voices of Palestinians and Israelis who seek justice and equal rights, and who support an end to violations of human rights and human dignity."  The statement further acknowledges that "our own government's seemingly unqualified and unquestioning support for Israel is a significant enabling factor for Israel's continuing and repeated violations of international conventions and laws."  The statement was sent to all Members of Congress.

Following words with action, 3rd Thursdays for Israel/Palestine, a project of the Faith Forum for Middle East Policy, issued an alert urging U.S. Christians and all persons of conscience to contact their Senators and Representatives, reminding them of the ecumenical statement and to:
  • Call for an end to the use of violence by Israeli forces against the protesters,
  • Call for an investigation by the State Department to ensure that US military aid to Israel is not used in ways that contravene established US and international laws,
  • Insist on an end to the Gaza blockade and humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza, and
  • Support policies that promote the human rights of all people, Palestinians and Israelis alike.
 Read the 3rd Thursday Alert, which includes a sample letter to send to your elected representatives.
Palestinian and World Christian Youth appeal to the global community on the 70th Anniversary of the Nakba


The Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement and The World Student Christian Federation have issued a statement addressed to the international community: 

"The people of Gaza have been exercising their right to protest by marching for the right to return to the homes from which they were forcefully expelled to make room for the state of Israel.

Since the beginning of the Great Return March, Israeli forces have killed at least 111 Palestinians and wounded about 12,000 people. The worst of these days took place the same day that in Jerusalem the US announced its total support for Israel. We ask you to stand in solidarity with the Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement and with Palestinian people to condemn the State of Israel for their crimes against humanity.

We ask you to protest these Israeli crimes and set up demonstrations to show your support and solidarity with the people of Palestine in their pursuit for justice and freedom. Write to your government and ask them lodge a diplomatic protest against Israeli's actions to the UN and make the Israeli Ambassador assigned in your country accountable to show that your country does not condone human rights violations." 
 
WORLD COUNCIL OF REFORMED CHURCHES CONDEMNS ISRAELI RESPONSE TO PEACEFUL GAZA PROTEST

CALLS ON WORLD CHURCH COMMUNITY TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY
At its General Council conference in Leipzig Germany in July 2017, The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) unanimously approved a history statement committing the world body to study, discern and act in support of justice for the Palestinian people.  The WCRC is the  largest association of Reformed churches in  the world, with 233 member denominations in 110 countries, together comprising 100 million people Read the 2017 Leipzig resolution here.

On May 18, as the people of Gaza continued their Great March of Return in witness to their suffering and the denial of life and homeland, the WCRC affirmed the commitment it made in Leipzig, issuing an unequivocal statement of support for the people of Gazacondemning the violent and murderous response by Israel. Quoting from the Leipzig resolution that  "with respect to the situation of injustice and suffering that exists in Palestine, and the cry of the Palestinian Christian community, the integrity of Christian faith and praxis is at stake," the WCRC has issued a call to the world Christian community to remain true to its deepest principles:

The WCRC expresses regret that sections of the Christian community have welcomed the move of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem. We call on the Christian community to disown any theology that propagate and justify discrimination and oppression. The WCRC further calls on the Christian community to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, as they struggle in the context of an ongoing occupation. We call for solidarity with Israeli citizens and organizations that defend Palestinian rights.
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