Sunday, 29th November 2015, is the first day of Advent as well as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People initiated by the United Nations. Tragically in Palestine, this time of Advent is beginning at a very dark time. In Bethlehem, clashes erupt almost daily, Israeli forces have closed down Hebron completely and Palestinian Jerusalemites are facing another round of harsh discrimination and house demolitions. In fact, instead of preparing for Christmas, Palestinians are struggling with the consequences of the past weeks.
We call upon the world and Kairos groups overseas to join the Palestinian struggle for justice and peace in solidarity with their prayers and vigils on Sunday, 29th November 2015 and light a candle in memory of the many people who have been killed, either by shootings, attacks or through the deadly effects of tear gas.
Together, we can send a strong message to the International Community to change their attitude and finally stop following their double standards in the Palestinian struggle towards justice and peace.
Since mid-September, we have faced outstanding, massive violence by the Israeli Occupation Forces and Israeli settlers which has led to the killing of at least 94 Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza - over 2000 people have been shot with life ammunition or rubber-coated metal bullets, according to the Ministry of Health.
We are mourning all innocent victims of the recent weeks. Resistance is a right and a duty for Christians and all Palestinians. We clearly support this right to resist the prolonged occupation and aggressions by successive Israeli governments and hereby call for a resistance in the logic of love.
"We do not resist with death but rather through respect of life. We respect and have a high esteem for all those who have given their life for our nation. And we affirm that every citizen must be ready to defend his or her life, freedom and land." (KP Chapter 4.2.5)
The Kairos Palestine Document clearly says that you cannot fight evil with evil and repeats the call to finally respect International Law. As the UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon said during last year's Solidarity Day: "The mindless cycle of destruction must end. The virtuous circle of peace must begin."
They say "Peace, Peace, when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14):
There will be no just peace without an end to the Israeli Occupation.
There will be no just peace without a stop of ongoing house demolitions.
There will be no just peace without an end of the blockade of Gaza.
There will be no just peace without releasing innocent prisoners.
There will be no just peace without ending and condeming the killing.
There will be no just peace without a life of dignity for ALL people.
Kairos Palestine is based on the most essential values of Christian belief: Hope, Faith and Love. It says in the document: "In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope. We believe in God, good and just. We believe that God's goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in our land." (Chapter 10)
Peace was never achieved through more violence. Our prayers are with the victims and their families and with all who actively promote non-violent resistance for an end to the occupation. We continue the struggle for justice and peace for all people!
Bethlehem, 24th November 2015
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