“Now.”, writes Hebron-based human rights activist Younes Arar, “The churches of occupied Palestine are ringing their bells in support of Jerusalem and against Zionist apartheid occupation attacks and violations…” (Facebook, 11 May, 2021)
The bells of resistance are ringing. Now is the Kairos moment, when the ferocious cruelty of Israel’s settler colonial regime and its citizen supporters is on full display for the whole world to see — the tear gas, grenades, and raids on worshipers at the holy site of al-Aqsa Mosque; the Lehava gangs prowling the East Jerusalem streets during Ramadan, chanting “Death to Arabs.”
The voices of the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem also rang out this week in a Statement decrying the violent acts, “whether at Sheikh Jarrah or al-Aqsa, which violate the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem…Actions undermining the safety of worshipers and the dignity of Palestinians who are subject to eviction are unacceptable.”
The church bells are ringing: “We call upon the International Community and all people of good will to put an end to these provocative actions and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Now is the Kairos, the moment of opportunity for action, even as the violence accelerates beyond Jerusalem, with deadly bombs raining down on Gaza and bloody clashes erupting in Israeli towns.
As Israel brutally attacks Palestinians for resisting the oppression they have faced for 73 years, Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah to Lydd to Gaza are standing up against Israel’s continued ethnic cleansing and apartheid in Palestine. The bells and the Patriarchs are calling on us, the international community and Christian sisters and brothers, to act.
What Can We DO at this Kairos Moment?
– Share the Jerusalem Patriarchs’ and Church Leaders’ call for international intervention with your bishop, your clergy and wardens. Let the bells of Jerusalem resound in your diocese.
– Get serious about our own complicity in the violence. Each year, $3,800,000,000 of our tax dollars are invested in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, backed by unconditional diplomatic support. Israel uses U.S. dollars and backing to entrench its apartheid regime. The communities here at home who would most benefit from those tax dollars are Black and Brown. We as the church need to demand: stop funding apartheid, start investing in health and safety for all.
– As individuals, as dioceses, and as General Convention, the Kairos moment demands that we:
- Hold Israel accountable by supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions, to be lifted when international law is obeyed and apartheid ends.
- Honor Palestinian calls for justice and self-determination, and affirm their right to resist ethnic cleansing, dehumanization and threats to basic survival.
- Make Resolution C038 (2018) “Safeguard the Rights of Palestinian Children” a highest priority for our church. Support and lobby for H.R. 2590, Rep. Betty McCollum’s “Promote and Protect the Human Rights of Palestinians Living Under Occupation” bill using the EPPN Action Alert here.