This noon, John and I will have lunch at a local hot bar where today’s menu features foods from the Middle East. Although our mission assignment is to the Kairos Palestine office in Bethlehem, West Bank, we will be eating at the local Coop grocery store in Concord, New Hampshire. In Bethlehem the sun warms the city. Here it is snowing.
We began our long term volunteer mission assignment last April and spent three weeks in Bethlehem. With the Kairos Palestine staff we designed a computer project to catalogue responses to the 2009 document A Moment of Truth A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering. Though mission assignments usually are located in the same country as the mission partner, advances in media technology open up other possibilities to meet requests for mission personnel support. We work from our home in Concord. Our assignment covers media coordination and communication strategy.
A Moment of Truth was written by Palestinian Christian clergy and laity to say now is the Kairos time, God’s time, to bring about a just resolution to inequality and oppression of the Israeli occupation. The document is addressed to Palestinian churches and leaders with a word of patience, hope and steadfastness (sumud), and a reminder to Jewish and Muslim religious leaders that they share the same vision that every person is created by God. An appeal is made to Israelis and Palestinians for a common vision and mutual trust. The call then goes out to Christian churches worldwide to reexamine how theology is used for political gain and to affirm that ”the word of God is good news for all.” To the international community comes a request to insist on the full application of international resolutions regarding Palestine.
To us, outside of the region, comes the invitation to “come and see.” Opportunities through Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) in Beit Sahour, West Bank, and Global Ministries People to People Pilgrimage Program in Indianapolis provide a broad and rich look at Israeli and Palestinian daily life as well as the religious sites better known to us. ATG is one of our mission partners in Palestine.
During Christmas there was a campaign across the country to boycott the purchase of the SodaStream Home Soda Maker. The appliance is manufactured in Ma’ale Adummim, an illegal settlement built on occupied land in the West Bank. Though the Israel Supreme Court declared that Palestinians working in the occupied Palestinian territory are entitled to the same labor protection as Israelis, they work longer hours each week and with night shift and overtime paid at standard rate. Taxes go to the settlement and to the Israel government.
The emphasis on non-violent resistance lifted up by Kairos Palestine becomes evident in this boycott of an Israeli made product. Palestinian civil society in 2005 issued a call to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of products produced by the occupation. Kairos Palestine joins this call as a way to reach “a just and definitive peace that will put an end to Israeli occupation” of Palestine.
From New Hampshire we call on you to pray for our mission partners in Palestine and in Israel, for the Karios Palestine movement, and for a just peace in the land.