Kairos Palestine Conference – Seeking a Path to Peace

Kairos Palestine conference

Kairos Palestine Conference

Kairos Palestine Conference 2016

This past weekend I attended the Kairos Palestine conference in Bethlehem. It was an inspiring gathering of leading clergy and lay people from churches and advocacy organisations in Jerusalem and Palestine. It was well attended with locals and visitors from around the world, including a group of 15 Bishops, of different denominations from the Philippines. It was a delightful surprise to meet Christine N. and Wendy G. – from the United Church of Canada – the folks who sponsored me for two terms of service with the World Council of Churches advocacy program in 2013.

Kairos Palestine Conference 2016

Visiting bishops from Philippines

We were all gathered with the common purpose of seeking peace with Justice for all peoples in the Holy Land.

Readers will remember that the Kairos Palestine document “A Moment of Truth” was the inspiration for solidarity and action by organizations and churches around the world to engage in advocacy for Palestine justice and an end to the occupation. Drafted in 2009 with the sub title “A word of faith , hope and love from the heart of Palestinian

H B Michel Sabbah with Peace activist Mel Earley at the Kairos Palestine Conference 2016

H B Patriarch Michel Sabbah

suffering “ the  document is a plea from Palestinian Christians to the rest of the world to know what is happening in Palestine and a cry for help to relieve their suffering. It calls “Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.

Here is a link to the full text:   http://www.kairospalestine.ps/index.php/about-us/kairos-palestine-document

The conference was held at the  Dar-Annadwa International Center in Bethlehem a beautiful facility although the conference room itself was overheated.

My dear friend Fr. Fadi Diab opened the Saturday session with a theological dissertation on Justice and an opening prayer it was great seeing him and talking with him again. Saturday was a long day of prominent speakers who spoke passionately and knowledgeably on different aspects of the military occupation and colonization of Palestine, the current situation and what near term and long term future hdsc01379olds for the Palestinian people.  Most of the presentations were in Arabic with simultaneous translation. The Highlight for me was the first session with Gideon Levy a prominent Israeli journalist and writer in which he explained what shapes the thinking and the current attitudes of mainstream Israelis towards Palestinians and why the current situation is likely to continue unchanged for a long time.

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Bishop Atallah Hanna

Kairos Palestine is The Voice of the churches in Jerusalem when often those churches are afraid to use their own voices for fear of reprisals such as denial of visas to clergy appointed to serve in Jerusalem, the denial of permits to renovate buildings or develop property, or even the confiscation of church property.

As with other organisations such as Defense for the Children International (DCI) Kairos holds a deep concern for the plight of Children living under the Military Occupation. In the Christmas Alert 2016 from Kairos  Palestine Jean Zaru Clerk of Ramallah Friends Meeting writes “
We worry and we ponder their future as millions have become children of war and children of a prolonged cruel military occupation. They are denied education and adequate Medical Care, they are imprisoned, tortured, and homeless and left vulnerable to a host of social problems. Over one-third of the Arab world is under 14 years of age and nearly half the world’s refugees are children”.  In her article she goes on to state the three most important ways we can get involved in shaping the character of this society.

  • Stop violence against children.
  • Demonstrate Justice and nonviolence in the church.
  • Organize institutions to meet immediate human need and stop militarism.

She says “no amount of humanitarian Aid will revive Palestine or Syria unless we end militarism, occupation, and the military destruction of infrastructure, lives and livelihoods”.

In the same Kairos, Christmas Alert 2016Defense for the Children International (DCI)  calls for an end to the arrest , detention and interrogation and torture of children contrary to human rights , and international humanitarian law . The DCI recounts some of the awful incidents that have been perpetrated on Palestinian children by the Israeli military  in the past year.

Here is a link to the downloadable Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2016:  http://www.kairospalestine.ps/images/Kairos%20Palestine%20Christmas%20Alert%202016%20Email.pdf

Mel

MAE/ HLE   Dec. 12 2016

NOTES

Kairos Palestine 7th Anniversary Conference 2016 FAITH, SUMUD, CREATIVE RESISTANCE  Dar-Annadwa International Center

9 Dec. 2016   8:30 – 9:00      Welcome and Registration                         9:30 – 10:00  Opening Prayer –Theological Reflections on Justice  Father   Fadi Diab

10:00 – 11:30   Session I: Where Are We Now      Speakers: Gideon Levy, Mohammed Barakeh, Diana Buttu                         Moderator: Rif’at Kassis

11:30 – 12:00 Coffee Break   12:00 – 13:00  Session II:        The Modern History of Palestine and Justice:                                                      Critical and Analytical Reading

Speakers: Walid Atallah, Patriarch Sabbah  Moderator: Nora Kort

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break

14:00 – 15:30  Session III: The Campaign Against Advocacy and                                               Creative Nonviolent Resistance    Speakers: Sha’wan Jabarin, Jack Munayer, Muna Mushahwar,                   Eman Abu Hanna

 Moderator: Manal Hazzan-Abu Sinni 15:30 – 16:30 Session IV: The Growing Phenomenon of Exclusion and                                              Extremism in the Name of Religion

Speakers: Iyad Barghouti, F. Jamal Khader Moderator: Lucy Thaljieh

16:30 – 16:45 Coffee Break 16:45 – 17:45   Session V: The Kairos Palestine Message in the                Light of Current Challenges Speakers:  Bishop Atallah Hanna, Rev. Munther Isaac Moderator: Hind Khoury

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6 thoughts on “Kairos Palestine Conference – Seeking a Path to Peace

  1. A group in Halifax are planning to start an Interfaith Council in our city and province, to promote mutual understanding and respect between persons of different faiths. The planning meeting was attended by Moslems, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Ba’Hai, Indigenous Canadians and others and I attended as a Quaker representative.
    maida

  2. The accounts of the abuse of Palestinian children leave no room for hope. It would seem these two peoples cannot live together. If they cannot live together in Palestine, is there a refuge for the younger generation of Palestinians?
    Many Syrians are finding refuge in Jordan, Canada and the U.S. , Germany and other places. Is there any place of refuge for the Palestinians?

    • Beth, Why should Palestinians be forced to leave, it’s their country – they are the indigenous people. That is like saying Native Americans should be shipped elsewhere to make more room for European white settlers in the USA.

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