2018 Community News


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 historic 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 Gaza, condemning 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.”

Read the full statement


Nakba Day Vigil Flyer

South African Christian Groups Hold Nakba Day Vigil
Publish Statement of Commitment

A group of South African Christian organizations, including Kairos Southern Africa, South African Council of Churches, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, and the Council of African Independent Churches, along with South African Jews for a Free Palestine and BDS South Africa will hold a vigil this coming Sunday 13 May in support for Kairos Palestine’s call for action and cooperation within the global Christian community. Participants will include Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups. The vigil will be part of a number of events in South Africa related to Nakba Day commemorations and in support for the Great Return March. Main events are taking place in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The initiative will be launched with the presentation of a profound Christian witness message:A Commitment from South African Christians Confronting Israel’s End-Game for Palestinians.”

The organizers emphasized that they are part of an international network commemorating the Nakba this week, especially from the global Christian community and requested messages of support from the global community.  Download: Messages of Support to Sisters and Brothers in South Africa on Nakba Day


Palestinian Christian Groups in the US Call on Faith Communities to End Israel’s Apartheid against the Palestinian people.

April 21, 2018
EXCERPTS

We the undersigned, a group of Palestinian-American Christians from several church traditions, call on all faith communities to:

  • Denounce the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
  • Lift up, in your places of worship, the plight of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike, recognizing that Israeli policies of occupation and apartheid are leading to the virtual extinction of the indigenous Christian population in Palestine.
  • Recognize the urgency of ending Israel’s genocidal siege and attacks on the entire Palestinian hostage population of the Gaza Strip.
  • Continue to use economic pressure as well as other nonviolent means to compel Israel to end its apartheid practices and policies against the Palestinian people.

We express deep concern at the increasingly hostile direction of Israeli policies and actions, emboldened by the equally aggressive foreign policy stance of the Trump administration toward the Palestinian people.
….

The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, as well as the rest of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights, is now in its fifty-first year, the longest military occupation since the end of the nineteenth century. Palestinian Christians and Muslims are calling on the church to use its influence to end the occupation.
….
On Friday, March 30th, Israel committed a massacre in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians were engaged in a demonstration on Land Day. This annual event commemorates the killing, in 1976, of six unarmed Palestinians in the Galilee who were protesting against the confiscation of their lands. The Gaza demonstrators were protesting against the genocidal conditions that Israel has imposed on the territory of two million inhabitants over the past eleven years; most importantly, they were expressing their right of return to their lands and villages from which the Israeli forces expelled them in 1948.
….
These events occurred on Good Friday, when the Christian world was mourning the crucifixion of Jesus. As the injustices and human rights violations keep piling up against the Palestinian people, we call on all churches and faith communities to take bold steps to end these grave injustices. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step up even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Signatories to this call include 12 faith organizations.
Download the full statement


PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN & CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT ON GAZA
“The Palestinian People Are Committed to Seeking Freedom”

As the peaceful gathering along the Gaza border that began on Land Day on March 30 continues, a historic call has gone out from organizations of Palestinian Christians and civil society, a call to Palestinian leaders, Israel, the USA, the Arab states, and the international community. This statement calls for support for the people of Gaza and and for worldwide demonstrations in advance of the 70th commemoration of the Nakba in May.

“We address our call to all those of good will who support us in seeking our freedom and independence…Heed the cries of the oppressed, of the people whose freedom you deny, and who were displaced from their land, villages and houses.”
See the Palestinian Christian & Civil Society Statement


Interfaith Clergy to City of Durham: End Police Partnerships with Israel

Demilitarize from Durham 2 Palestine – a coalition that includes Jewish Voice for Peace-Triangle, Durham for All, Inside-Outside Alliance, Black Youth Project 100-Durham Chapter, and other groups – called on the city to cut any police partnerships with Israel. A debate that divided Durham’s Jewish community and prompted accusations of anti-Semitism culminated Monday night with the City Council’s approval of a statement opposing international military-style police training.

An interfaith statement signed by 72 clergy endorsed that petition to the city council. Calling on the most precious principles of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, and citing “the brutality of Israel’s military occupation and the daily violations of Palestinians’ most basic human rights,” the Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergy urged the City Council to act. The statement was initiated by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

On Tuesday, April 17, the City Council unanimously passed a statement prohibiting police exchanges, “rejecting the militarization of our police force.” “Black lives matter,” concludes the statement, linking the “counter-terrrorism” trainings provided by Israel to police departments in the U.S. to the brutalization of oppressed groups here in the U.S. and across the world.

Read the report and the full statement.