Statement: “The Palestinian people Are committed to seeking freedom”
The following statement was issued by several Palestinian Christian agencies and organizations. It is a call to the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian leaders, Israel, the US government, the Arab and international communities, and “all those of good will who support us in seeking our freedom and independence.”
We are a collection of Palestinian groups and civil society organizations. We address our call to the Palestinian Authority, all Palestinian leaders, Israel, the American administration, the Arab states, the international community, and to all those of good will who support us in seeking our freedom and independence.
We issue a call of peace and love, a strong call that stems from the strength of our belief in God, his righteousness and his love for all mankind, at a time when we see that the potential to achieve our cause, i.e. our demand for freedom and independence, is diminishing. The American administration has disregarded our history and our rights in Jerusalem, our city of our prayer and faith, and the capital of our state. Israel is determined to maintain its military occupation over us, particularly in the siege imposed on Gaza, and is supported by the American administration which says that it will present “the deal of the century” to us.
In response, the masses in Gaza are resorting to peace as an effective weapon by organizing peaceful marches in which thousands are taking part. These activities have been ongoing since Land Day on Friday March 30th. This weapon is what the Kairos “moment of truth” document called for to highlight steadfastness, resist the occupation, and demand our freedom: peace is the only weapon we can use to achieve this.
The power of this new weapon became apparent as Israel tried to transform it into violent confrontation by the use of violence in which they killed unarmed civilians and injured thousands. Nevertheless, the peaceful demonstrations have continued.
Israeli and American pressure on Arab countries has attempted to force the Palestinians to stop their peaceful demonstrations. For our part, and on the basis of our vision of faith and God’s love and righteousness for every human being, we urge all Palestinians to continue their peaceful march. Their lack of arms makes them strong as they seek life, freedom and equality. We call on the thousands to continue their peaceful marches in Gaza and in all West Bank regions.
We direct our call to the Palestinian leadership and tell them to be united. The search for freedom does not permit further divisions and splits. Let these demonstrations unite the hearts of all; let them unite those in charge in all factions and unite officials and the people.
We call on Israel and the American administration to respond positively to the call for peace disseminated by these peaceful marches. Rather than viewing them as a threat, they actually offer a way out of the crisis that we have reached with you. Heed the cries of the oppressed, of the people whose freedom you deny, and who were displaced from their land, villages and houses. Change your outlook: maintaining life is more beneficial than creating death.
The American administration says that it will present us with the ‘deal of the century, but by taking Jerusalem from its Palestinian people and placing it under Israeli sovereignty, it is making this deal the beginning of a fresh injustice.
Pressure is also increasing on Arab countries to force Palestinian leaders to accept the “deal of the century” with some modifications. Based on our rights and love for every human being, we say let the people declare the injustices they face until the conscience is stirred of all those in Israel and Palestine, and the world wakes up. We call on the Palestinian Authority to be strong and steadfast in the face of all pressure and solutions that create fresh injustice for the Palestinian people. In particular we state that we do not trust promises given by the strong. We know that the strong have not met their promises in the past and will not fulfill new promises in the future. The “deal of the century” should start with Israel and the American administration recognizing Palestinian inalienable rights. At that point, negotiations may start. Without this clear and binding condition, negotiations, promises and the deal of the century will be no more than a new means of maintaining injustice, depriving us of our freedom, and subjecting us to occupation and racist discrimination.
To Israel and the American administration we repeat that we are committed to our demand for freedom. Our only weapon is peace and your peaceful response is the only source of security for you. You may want to keep us in slavery but we will remain steadfast and say no to slavery. We are confident that the time will come when you recover your conscience, reinstate your human dignity, and look at the Palestinian people as human beings with whom can live in security, justice, peace and equality rather than people you seek to eradicate.
For however long it continues, injustice will burden your conscience one day after another. Your injustice against us and your own power will be the foundations of your defeat. Your ability to be righteous and to treat the Palestinian people fairly and with humanity will be your only salvation.
These facts require the following:
- An immediate end to divisions and guaranteed support for a popular movement politically, economically, in the media, and diplomatically.
- A clear Palestinian stand on refusing any concessions that infringe on Palestinian national rights, remaining firm in the face of political or economic pressure, and not believing any promises. The Palestinian leadership and political forces should look for new and creative ways of struggle to achieve Palestinian rights intact. This is required in light of the failure of the peace negotiations, which reached an impasse due to Israeli intransigence and American partiality that protects and supports Israeli practices.
- Cease all pressure exerted on the Palestinian Authority to accept unfair American and Israeli proposals; stop all forms of normalization with Israel; refrain from providing a political cover for Israeli aggressive practices against the Palestinian people; and strengthen the BDS movement against the Israeli occupation.
- Support the Palestinian struggle through ongoing massive demonstrations that reach a peak in the Nakba commemoration in mid-May.
- Launch international initiatives and campaigns against racist Israeli practices that respond to Palestinian peace with violence and the killing of unarmed Palestinians in cold blood. Pressure should be exerted on Israel to desist from the use of violence and to enter a real path for peace.
- A popular movement and media campaign to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and refute President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Popular marches to be organized in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle. Such activities should reach a peak in mid-May to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ongoing Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe).
- Exert pressure on Western governments and states to break their silence and force Israel to respect international resolutions and treaties, end the occupation, and accept a just and final solution.
Despite the extensive power of the Israeli occupation, the political, military and economic support it receives from its donor countries, the killings, destruction, distortion, displacement, siege, starvation, and arrests, the Israeli occupation understands that it has not been able to break the Palestinian spirit rooted deeply in the land and history.
Palestinians are now besieging the occupation in a historic, cultural, ethical, moral and human sense and will be victorious.
We pray to God to guide all to the right path of peace that protects the humanity of man, a just peace and a final peace that liberates every human being from all evil within or against them.
The YMCA/YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI)
The National Christian Association (NCA), Jerusalem
The East Jerusalem YMCA/HQ
The East Jerusalem YMCA/Beit Sahour Branch
The Arab Educational Institute AEI, Bethlehem
Union of Arab Orthodox Club – Jerusalem
Arab Orthodox Club – Beit Jala
Arab Orthodox Club, Beit Sahour
The Arab Orthodox Charitable Society, Beit Sahour
Alternative Tourism Group (ATG), Palestine
Al Qistas Forum for Dialogue and Concord- Gaza