By Kairos Palestine: April 30th, 2020: Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:23-24)
The board of Kairos Palestine raises an alarm regarding the consequences of the third failed Israeli election in less than a year. The resulting coalition entered on April 20, 2020, combines two of the most right-wing parties—Bennie Gantz’s Blue and White and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud—in a deal that directly threatens Palestinians’ freedom, health, and human rights.
Described as an “emergency government” to address the impacts of COVID-19, and under the cover of a so-called “coronavirus cabinet,” the State of Israel is empowered to continue its policies of home demolitions, closures, arrests, child detention, and settler violence.
- As a result of the political arrangement, Gantz gave up his campaign promise to amend Israel’s Nation-State Law which legalizes institutional discrimination in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
- In the deal for a joint government, Gantz relinquished his commitment not to pursue annexation in the West Bank without international consensus, freeing Netanyahu to pursue his long-standing promise to annex substantial portions of the West Bank as early as July 1.
- While the “emergency government” may only take up legislation related to the coronavirus, an exception was agreed upon to consider bills related to U.S. President Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century.
- According to international law, an occupier is mandated to see to the health and welfare of the occupied, but a lack of medical supplies, the complete blockade of Gaza, Israel’s control of the Palestinian economy, piracy and theft of Palestinian tax money and increased restrictions on movement put Palestinians at a greater risk of suffering from COVID-19.
For the past few years and especially during the administration of both Trump and Netanyahu the foundations of the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis have been sabotaged by the different policies and announcements that both administrations have unilaterally adopted. This annexation is only one of these moves. While we see that the equation of land for peace have lost its credibility and now look impossible for a two states solution, we at KP are committed for our people and churches to continue to struggle for the values that make for peace. Equality and Justice are our beacon.
Thus, we urge all churches to support these values in every means. We urge them to say no to injustice of any illegal political move and building for a future of equality on this land between all the peoples, no matter what the political frame it brings at the end. We struggle for democracy and the natural human rights in this land, that no people are under occupation or discrimination or siege. That people enjoy their self-determination without prejudice to their religious, national or ethnic origin. This land has been blessed by its multicultural, multi- faithful and multi- national identity. This is how it should look like in any solution.
In this struggle, Kairos Palestine calls on people of faith and all those of conscience around the world to:
- Plead with your elected representatives to hold the State of Israel accountable to international law and human rights;
- Demand that your governments do not recognize Israel’s annexations of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, that your governments express their disapproval of Israel’s further plans of annexation, and that your governments pressure Israel with concrete measures to comply with international law and UN resolutions. All know what is due to the Israelis, and what is due to the Palestinians. Clear decisions are already taken by the UN. So why further waiting to apply what is already decided? Just comply with what you have decided. Take concrete measures which compel Israel to comply with your own decisions.
- Protect Palestinians’—and all people’s—right to resist, including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, until Israel complies with its obligations as an occupying power.
Our plea is rooted in what is described in the Kairos Palestine document as “the logic of love”—a concern for the life and future of both peoples with a firm hope for the day when both oppressor and oppressed create a new society for all the people of the land.
“Kairos Palestine, the most extensive Palestinian Christian ecumenical non-violent movement, is based on Kairos Palestine document: A Moment of Truth, launched in 2009, affirming that the Palestinian Christians are part and parcel of the Palestinian nation, calling for peace to end all suffering in the Holy Land by laboring for justice, hope and love, embraced by the Christian community, signed by all historically recognized Palestinian Christian organizations, and endorsed by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem”.