Picture: House of Commons Seminar on Plight of Christians Living in Palestine
By Daniel Gil/ Contributing Writer
The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine released a statement Monday calling for all Christians to condemn Israel’s occupation of Palestine and that they take more active measures in fighting for the rights of Palestinians.
In the open letter addressed to World Council of Churches and the Ecumenical Movement, the NCCOP outlined a list of nine demands which included the recognition of Israeli apartheid, condemnation of the Balfour Agreement and that Christians take a stronger stance against religious extremism.
The NCCOP believes Christian organizations in Israel and abroad haven’t seized an active enough role when it comes to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as well as its treatment of Palestinians. The open letter comes as the organization meets in Bethlehem this month and following US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel in late May.
“We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise,” the NCCOP said of the western nations supporting Israel.
“Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.”
Among the aforementioned demands, the NCCOP also wants the United Kingdom to formally recognize and ask for forgiveness of the Palestinian people in reference to the Balfour declaration. Named after British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour, the 1917 declaration send to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild posited the notion of an ethno-religious state in the middle-east and is largely recognized as the impetus for a British zionist movement following the First World War.
The NCCOP’s statement follows a growing trend over the past couple years in the United States and other western nations in condemning Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people, which has been characterized by the United Nations as an “apartheid system.”
Father George Shalhoub of the Basilica of Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Livonia Michigan spoke to Arab America in response to the NCCOP’s statement saying, “We support the NCCOP and wish to warn the world that unless something happens, the christian conscience will die, and the world will lose its basic humanity. We have heard enough speeches, promises, and agreements. It is the time to act, it is the time of essence not only for good Palestinian christians, but the Middle East in general must take precedence…. The whole region is threatened. So, we send our prayer and support for the NCCOP.”
The NCCOP’s statement also comes a week after the 50 year anniversary of the Six Day War between Israel and surrounding Middle-Eastern countries which established the Israeli borders in Palestine in place today.
“Al Nakba”–The Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948
Jew Ilan Pappe on “The Nakba of Palestine”
Historian Ilan Pappe of Exeter University discusses the people and ideology behind the crimes of the war of 1948, which he describes as the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. This speech was given at the Al-Awda Convention in 2008.