“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”
Thus Dickens begins ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. The cities he
had in mind were London and Paris, and yet his words form a fitting
introduction to the story of Jerusalem and Ramallah in 2014.
It is the worst of times!
As I write, the IDF is tightening its military grip on the West Bank
and enacting raids and arrests on a scale not seen since the Second Intifada!
Meanwhile settlements continue to flourish, Gazans struggle to find
fresh water, Australia abandons all pretence of concern, and the
negotiating table is empty.
In the corridors of power – in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Washington and Canberra – it is the worst of times
for our Palestinian sisters and brothers. But this is not the whole
story! Tectonic shifts have been taking place at the grass-roots, and
what’s more the church is at the very heart of the shift!
The accomplishment of Pope Francis in bringing Abbas and Peres
together for prayer in Vatican City was nothing short of miraculous! Who
would have thought that such a thing could happen?!
The tangible effects of the Pope’s initiative might not yet be
obvious but what Francis has done is to help accelerate a paradigm shift
in the way the world is dealing with the Palestinian Occupation.
Israeli and Palestinian peace is no longer simply a political issue. It is also a spiritual issue and a human issue, and as such it is something for which we all need to take responsibility!
The quest for justice and peace in Palestinian is becoming a truly democratic struggle, as seen in the ever-growing ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign’
(BDS). The BDS again moves the struggle for justice beyond the realm of
professional politicians to a place where every business, every
household and every individual can play a role in defunding the Palestinian Occupation!
And so it should not surprise us to see these two forces converge – spiritual leadership and BDS – with the United Methodists of America last week divesting from companies fuelling the Palestinian Occupation and with the Presbyterian Church of the USA about to follow in their wake!
It is the worst of times for political settlements being established from the top down, and yet the death of the American-led ‘peace process’
has opened up the way for ordinary people, and for the church in
particular, to take the cause of Palestinian peace into their own hands!
In Biblical Greek the word ‘kairos’ means ‘time’ but not in the sense of clock-time. It means an opportune time – a God-given moment that needs to be taken hold of and taken full advantage of. Now is such a kairos
in the struggle for Palestinian justice. Now is the time to act, now is
the time to pray, now is the time for us to organise our churches to
act and pray and to shout out to the world that our Palestinian sisters
and brothers have suffered long enough!
If we – the Church of Jesus Christ – take hold of this time and work
hand-in-hand with other grass-roots groups of concerned people around
the world, I do believe this could turn out to be the best of times for Palestine, and a decisive turning point in the global struggle for justice and peace.
We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine. The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date the information was released by the source.