Kairos Palestine New Year’s letter
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Global Kairos for Justice Network,
However gloomy or dire our situation is, Christmas followed by the New Year remain a moment of hope and resolve. We are blessed by these moments of renewal and reinvigoration of our faith, hope and love. With this renewed spirit we send you, your loved ones, your organizations and movements our best wishes and sincere prayers for a blessed New Year. Please also find attached our New Year letter and news.
On this occasion, allow me to extend special thanks to each one of you for all the support, the cooperation and the fellowship you have so kindly and generously provided to us at Kairos Palestine throughout the years and especially so in the framework of the Global Kairos Groups for Justice (GKGJ). Though I was not directly involved with Kairos when this group was formed I remember well the impressive Kairos conference proceedings, the pronounced presence of many of you and the launch of the GKGJ. In these bleak days for Palestine and the Middle East, your solidarity and our association are even more precious.
At Kairos Palestine (KP) secretariat we are starting a new cycle with a promising new staff: Raphael, Muna and Areej. We pray and hope to succeed in maintaining and extending the achievements of KP to date. We are sorry that Dear Nora Carmi decided to leave us as of 1 January. KP will always be marked by her contribution and her engagement for justice and peace. She will be greatly missed. You also know that by the end of 2014 the other former staff also left KP including our dear Rifat Kassis, who is fortunately now a member of the Kairos board. We strongly believe in the mission of Kairos as expressed by the Kairos document and as developed with your participation in the many conferences and publications. We pray that with God’s grace we shall continue the struggle hand in hand.
Life under occupation and apartheid only got worse this last year as expected in the papers and analysis of the Kairos conference of December 2014 (please review the proceedings now available online). We thank Ranjan Solomon from PIEF/WCC for his thorough reporting and advocacy letters on all major developments regarding the Palestinian struggle for freedom. We are particularly proud that in the midst of so much injustice Palestinian youth remain a living proof of Palestinian resilience not only through creative resistance but also through artistic achievements in the world of music, cinema, theatre, visual arts and more.
You surely follow the growing protests against the violence of the occupation and the colonial settlers that started last October. As a sign of Palestinian resilience, a new generation of Palestinian youth decided to confront the Israeli army with their bare chests resulting in many injuries and killings. We strongly condemn all violence and especially the extra judicial killing of Palestinian activists and youth. Most often these killings are based on false accusations, assumed violent intentions by the army or, sometimes real individual acts of violence resulting from despair and loss. We mourn the lost lives and pray for the recovery of the injured. Here, we extend a special appreciation for the courageous and prophetic stance of the Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallström, who called for an investigation into these killings. We also pray for more courage and honesty from world politicians and governments on issues of justice, peace and respect for international law.
In light of the above and as we approach the Jubilee year for 50 years to the occupation of 1967, and hundred years to the Balfour Declaration due in 2017, we are confident of the continued relevance of our Kairos theology, values and proposed action. We pray it will continue to guide our collective work towards a real and durable peace in Palestine Israel, the region and the world.
Our faith, hope and love remain strong. As Jean Zaru said in her New Year message, we ‘hope for the things that do not exist and we cannot see, a world of justice, righteousness, integrity and peace. Our hope is a resistance movement against fatalism, rooted in the work of the Spirit in our lives and journeys.’
As a matter of fact, the “arc of the moral universe bends towards justice” proves true every day with the growing international solidarity and action for justice in Palestine. We are so gratified by the decision of the United Methodist pension fund to divest from Israeli banks. We thank the church leaders and the UMKR for this justice and rights driven decision and we pray for a more courageous and really prophetic stance from the UMC General Conference next May.
In our plan for the next three years and as KP seeks to extend its call for action, we shall work more with opinion makers at the local level in order to consolidate the Kairos agenda and principles. At the international level, we shall seek to work closer with our GKGJ network through joint coordination, strategizing and actions and will also pursue stronger ties with important strategic partners especially the WCC – PIEF and other justice-driven churches and communities.
We hope to restart the KGKJ conference calls and to hear more from you about your Kairos work and struggles as well as your support to our KP call. As a matter of fact we would very much appreciate to receive such information also through contributions/articles that we can publish in our weekly Kairos column in Alquds local Arabic newspaper.
We look forward in earnest to hear from you and we pray for a stronger bond and a flourishing ministry amongst us all.