Members of Catholic , Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican and Baptist traditions in the Palestinian Christian community issued a statement in Bethlehem on December 11 called the "Kairos Palestine Document". Many of these brothers and sisters in Christ are partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Presbyterian News Service did a story about the statement when it was released. The Middle East Study Team, which is nearing the release of its final report, has considered the statement.
The statement declares "that God created us not so that we might engage in strife and conflict but rather that we might come and know and love one another, and together build up the land in love and mutual respect."
It characterizes the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories as an evil that must be resisted by Palestinians and removed by nonviolent means. Noting that the U.S. desire to end the tragedy has not changed the reality of occupation, and Israeli responses leave little expectation of the end of occupation, it nevertheless says hope remains strong.
The Kairos Palestine Document includes theological reflections and words to Christians, Muslims and Jews, the Churches of the World, the international community, and Jewish and Muslim religious leaders. The statement calls the Palestinian community and Israelis to "see the face of God in each one of God’s creatures."
It ends with an affirmation of hope and faith in God: "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. We will see here "a new land" and 'a new human being', capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her
brothers and sisters."
All Presbyterians may not agree with everything contained in the Kairos Palestine Document, but it is a word from our sisters and brothers in Christ that is worth reading, praying about, and pondering deeply. The Presbyterian Church has been involved in mission efforts in the Middle East for nearly two centuries. The denomination's long-standing witness in Israel and Palestine has spanned a range of efforts. General Assemblies since 1948 have expressed their concern for peace and justice for both Jews and Arabs.