Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters, colleagues and partners of Kairos Palestine,
Christmas in Bethlehem continues to be celebrated as it has been for more than two thousand years, in spite of occupations and hardships. The message of peace and good-will given that first Christmas continues to inspire and sustain us as we strive to be led by love of the other and the right to life and dignity for all. Yes, the times remain bleak for Palestinians as hopes for peace have waned, and as destruction and violence ravage the region. But we refuse to give up hope that justice will be done. In this context, your friendship and solidarity stand out like a shining star of hope, mercy and support.
We thank you in the name of Kairos Palestine and all Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, for your persistent solidarity and advocacy for real peace. We thank you for the many resolutions, campaigns, talks, debates and more conducted with love so that the liberating truth is proclaimed.
We also give thanks for the many churches, church organizations, seminaries, congregations and wonderful people who have responded to our Kairos Palestine call that proposes a path towards justice and peace in the Holy Land. Thank you to those who continue to promote our Kairos call so that joined Christian action can make of us “the peacemakers” we are called to be.
Sadly, Israeli policies continue to impose realities on the ground that hamper the establishment of a Palestinian state and ignore all calls to respect international law, human rights and the law of war. In addition, Israel seems adamant to continue to feed despair among Palestinians.
Politically, Israel has tried to ensure that the Palestinian struggle becomes irrelevant to regional peace and has emphasized that the problem is the war on terror, ignoring how the injustice it perpetrates against the Palestinian people has fed terrorism, extremism and violence. Its policies undermine international law on a daily basis and claim exclusive religious rights to the land to justify continued occupation, settlement expansion, oppression, dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians.
And, while all of us who daily experience the effects of occupation are suffering, it is the children who are the most vulnerable. For this reason, Kairos has chosen the theme of “Children” for its 2016 Christmas Alert. Palestinian youth and children are targeted on a daily basis with intent to instill fear and humiliation. Respect for human rights, International Humanitarian Law and UN resolutions are important to ensure their safety and access to a minimum degree of decency and life. They are dehumanized as are all Palestinians and their struggle framed as part of world terrorism. According to a report by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, at least 1,000 Palestinian children between the ages of 11 and 18 have been detained by Israel since January 2016, many of whom have been abused and tortured while in detention. According to the Palestinian prisoner’s rights group, ADDAMEER, a total of 240 Palestinian children are currently being incarcerated by Israel. We need you to help us in our struggle for freedom and dignity, especially for our children.
We invite you this Christmas, as the 50th anniversary of the military occupation is dawning on us, to be also in touch with difficult realities in our world. Please take time to read our Christmas Alert with its theological reflections, articles, poems, stories and reports. Share it as widely as possible and try to follow the actions proposed in the epilogue. Follow the campaign throughout the four weeks of Advent and join us in proclaiming the Christmas message from Bethlehem where Jesus was born over two thousand years ago, a message of peace and good will for all. Provide us with your gift of compassion to help relieve the prolonged suffering of Palestinian children and all those who suffer injustice and oppression.
From the land where hope remains a promise and love a source of salvation for us and the world,