Today the Israel Palestine Mission Network shares pain and yearnings from our some of closest friends and partners in Palestine about the suffering and atrocities in Gaza and the call for justice from Palestinian Christians globally.
The first of these statements comes from Kairos Palestine and Rifat Kassis, its director, and is their response to the Gaza killings and injuries on Monday in Gaza. It lifts up their call, as well, to the global church for active solidarity. The second is a joint statement from the World Student Christian Federation and the Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement, both connected closely the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) in Palestine and sent by our partner, Nidal Abu Zuluf, the director of JAI.
Please share the statements widely and center the voices of Palestinians as we seek to respond in advocacy and action to the continuing Nakba.
Katherine Cunningham and Noushin Framke have been sitting next to Rifat Kassis during three days of presentations at the United Nations Forum on the Question of Palestine. He has been accompanied by Mr. Shawan Jabarin, the Director of Al Haq, the Palestinian human rights organization. Rifat sends his greetings to IPMN. Mr. Jabarin and Al Haq have frequently been part of Come and See trips, and look forward to partnering with faith-based groups here in the US more. Both have received copies of Why Palestine Matters as gifts from IPMN. We’ll be sending some more copies to Kairos Palestine soon
Statement on Gaza and Jerusalem
May 15, 2018
" If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they" (Ecclesiastes 5:8)..
On Monday, May 14th 2018, in Gaza, 60 people were killed and 2771 wounded among crowds walking unarmed towards their villages, from which they had been compelled to leave. They were killed in cold blood and posed no threat to anybody.
At the same time, the American embassy was relocated to Jerusalem in violation of international law. The transgressor is the great power that should call on others to respect international law.
Thus, the situation in which we are living is not one of rejoicing and the inauguration of a new embassy. We live in an inhumane situation that must be changed.
The siege on Gaza, on two million people living on land of merely 380 km², must be lifted. The West Bank must be liberated and the people in it regain their freedom and complete equality must be ensured for all inhabitants of the land.
This is the 70th year of the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people, and that started to deform the face of the Holy Land into a land of war and death. Our catastrophe remains ongoing.
This is the 70th year of this painful truth: the Holy Land has become the land in which human beings kill each other. This is the anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, the anniversary of the catastrophe of the Palestinian people, and the anniversary of the beginning of the phase of war and death in the Holy Land.
It is an anniversary of death and not a celebration, including for Israel that still fears and rejects the application of United Nations resolutions. Israel is still afraid of peace and the peaceful march of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and in the Occupied Territories. Israel which still feels obliged to give orders to its soldiers to kill unarmed people who claim their freedom.
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 call upon them to condemn the Christian Zionists whom we saw in these days, contradicting the Gospel of love and peace, by supporting oppression and injustice, under the pretext of prophecies, and standing with the powerful of this world in their injustices.
We urge the international community to shoulder its responsibilities. We call upon it to exert every pressure, even sanctions if necessary, to force Israel to follow the path of peace and justice, 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.
We call on our people to remain steadfast in the face of all plots and intrigues.
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, the anniversary of the year when the killing of each other began in the land made holy by God, not to kill but to let all people love each other.
Stop the Massacre! Freedom and Justice for the Palestinian People!
An Appeal from World Student Christian Federation and the Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement
Since March 30th, the people of Gaza have been exercising their right to protest by marching for the right to return to their homes. The homes from which they were forcefully expelled to make room for the state of Israel. These land grabs were used to create Israeli settlements as a result of population transfers which under article 7 of the Rome statute constitutes as ‘crimes against humanity’, resulting in an ethnic cleanse of Palestinians from the land. In 1948 the UN passed resolution 194 agreeing that refugees should have the right to return to their villages, a resolution which Israel continues to ignore.
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 the US Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv, the recognized capital of Israel, to Jerusalem, as the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On this day, Monday 14th of May, 62 Palestinians were killed with around 2,700 injured.
The US announced their complete support and alliance to Israel and spoke of the importance of human rights to both the US and Israel. They spoke about this as less than 80 kilometers away, 62 unarmed civilians were being killed. These events took place the day before Nakba Day. Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe and this day marks the 70th anniversary of the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. Israel celebrates this as their Independence Day.
• We condemn the Israeli systematic targeting of the Palestinian civilians and violating the international Humanitarian Law which mounts up to a crime against humanity and equally denounce the complicity of the US Administration in these violations and the way the UN is made unable to work for justice and peace in the region because of the American hegemony and veto.
• 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, their illegal land grabs and population transfers. We hope that the international community will not simply say “this is bad” and later turn away to ignore the injustices and violation of rights of the our people. We ask you to stand in solidarity with us and to fight for our human rights and the right of people to live in full dignity.
• We ask you to protest these Israeli crimes and set up, join demonstrations to show your support and solidarity to the people of Palestine in their pursuit for justice and freedom. Write to your government and ask them lodge a diplomatic protest to 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.
Georgine Kengne Djuetane
Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement (PYEM)
Chairperson World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
16 May 2018