Kairos Document: A Moment of Truth
Geneva, 28 September – It was the moment of truth. A wave of hope travelled from face to face as Nora Carmi introduced the Kairos Palestine document on Tuesday 28 September to participants in the World Council of Churches’ UN Advocacy Week now taking place in Geneva.
The international audience listened to a new commandment of love, offered as an instrument of strategy in the struggle against forces that have continued to outpace peace efforts at every turn of events.
The Kairos Document is a word to the world from Palestinian Christians on what is happening in Palestine and Israel. It was launched in Bethlehem in December 2009. The document calls on the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and functional apartheid for more than six decades. It stands in the tradition of an earlier Kairos Document, launched by Christians in 1985, that addressed the political situation in South Africa during its apartheid era.
The Kairos Document of 2009 is a cry of hope reflecting love, prayer and faith in God. It urges all the churches and Christians in the world to stand against injustice and modern-day apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories, and calls the churches to revisit theological distortions that serve to justify crimes perpetrated against people and the dispossession of their land.
“We have learned that if people are silent the stones will cry out. So let us not be silent. Let us cry out,” said Carmi, a member of Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem.
Her appeal found a response in nodding heads, even as her listeners’ attention remained glued to the text of the document.
“A few hours from now, Israel will host yet another Zionists’ rally,” she said on Tuesday. “We are going to distribute flowers and a small card with directions on finding the Kairos Document in the virtual world.”
“We call it a word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering,” she added, “because the Palestinian cause is a just cause and we have to stand by it.”
And to those still-troubled minds, Nora Carmi cited history: “When we introduced a similar argument to end apartheid in South Africa, not many believed in this branch of diplomacy. But it did work. That is why we are embracing faith and hope to deal with a situation which has resisted all efforts of morality as well as legal efforts.”
“In the whole process, we forget that we are dealing with human beings. Hope gives us the capacity to see this. And ‘hope diplomacy’ means that we are not giving in to evil.”
“Our message is simple,” Carmi continued, “Israel’s unending occupancy is a sin against God.”
Earlier, Dr Jeff Halper, president of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, while speaking on “Israel-Palestine: Towards better peace, apartheid and warehousing”, pointed out that Israel was indulging in demolition without any reason.
Settlers have occupied a majority area pushing that majority population to a meager 22 percent of the land. And they continue to occupy more. Palestinians today have only about 40 percent of the 22 percent of land into which they have been pushed and walled. Still they offer peace and are ready to accept the geographical demarcation.
“And if this is not seen as a generous offer, I don’t know what a generous offer means,” Halper said. He also criticized the hypocrisy of calling a 20-foot-high wall built on Palestinian land a “separation barrier” meant to insure the security of all parties.
In illustration of Halper’s perspective, Xavier Abu Eid, an advisor to the Negotiations Support Unit, power-pointed images that conveyed how quickly Palestinian areas were shrinking and succumbing to the physical muscle and diplomatic might of Israel.
“A good number of [Israeli] settlers are economic settlers rather than ideological settlers,” Abu Eid added.
A new set of laws further “prevents us from even dreaming of gaining access” to any of these areas, continued Abu Eid. “As a result, we have seven out of ten million Palestinians living in exile. The basic requirement for lasting peace is to acknowledge separate statehood for Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
* Manoj K. Das is an editor for Asianet News T.V.