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Synod calls for Lambeth Conference to act on Palestine

Provincial Synod resolved today to call on next year’s worldwide meeting of Anglican bishops, the Lambeth Conference, to initiate a process, in collaboration with international organisations and global faith bodies, to lead to “a negotiated settlement that will bring justice and peace in Israel and Palestine within a set timeframe.”

The Synod resolution, adopted with three abstentions, reads:

LAMBETH CONFERENCE SUPPORTING PALESTINE

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

1. The 2019 Provincial Synod unanimously expressed its support to act in “solidarity with Palestine” (Resolution 4: “Time to Act: Solidarity with Palestine”);

2. It is the continued and growing impunity and lack of accountability by the State of Israel over the areas they are occupying shown, for example, by delaying vaccination of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, continual illegal settlement building, and by not co-operating with the work of the International Criminal Court;

3. The 2020 Provincial Standing Committee’s resolution (Resolution 11.1.7 – “Support for Palestine”) further supported the need for education about “the daily reality of the situation” and that this was further supported by the February 2021 deliberations at the Synod of Bishops;

Acknowledging that:

1. The “daily reality” for Palestinians continues to be oppressive, illustrated, for example, by the statement of the “Leaders of Historically African American and South African Churches” (Group Pilgrimage Statement on Israel and Palestine, March 5, 2019), a pilgrimage in which one of our bishops participated, which was distributed at the 2019 Provincial Synod, and included the following experiences:

“d. We visited Palestinian communities and homes where people are not allowed to have freedom of movement or self-determination.

“e. We visited a refugee camp of displaced persons who still hold the keys to their homes that were confiscated over 70 years ago. We met and heard stories of men, women and children who have themselves or family members been victims of state-sanctioned violence in the form of detention, interrogation, teargassed, beatings, forced confessions and death.

“f. We met with families who are fighting to keep their homes from being taken for Jewish settlements and developments.

“g. We heard the stories of how Palestinians within the occupied territory of the Gaza Strip must contend with a perpetual blockade, the excessive use of force by Israel to subject the people to collective punishment of the whole population and the debilitating confinement that renders Gaza as one big densely populated prison.

“h. We heard of the acute shortage of fuel and electricity, seriously affecting daily life and the provision of especially health services in Gaza; and the heavily polluted and undrinkable water, aggravating child mortality rates;”

2. The Human Rights Watch report of 27 April 2021, entitled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution”, adds further evidence in respect of the long-held belief that Israel is an Apartheid regime.

Affirming that:

1. The ACSA Palestinian Study Group, under the leadership of Bishop Luke Pato, remains committed to carrying out the resolutions on Palestine passed by the Provincial Synod, the Provincial Standing Committee and the Synod of Bishops;

2. The five studies, “Justice for the Palestinian people”, made available by the Archbishop to our Province, will help in raising awareness and increasing understanding among our members of the Palestinian context and theological perspectives on it;

3. The non-violent struggle for freedom in Palestine is being furthered through initiatives taken by other faith and ecumenical bodies, a significant one being that of Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice, “Cry for Hope: A Call to decisive action – we cannot serve God and the oppression of the Palestinians” (1 July 2020), in which they make an urgent appeal: “We call upon all Christians and on churches at congregational, denominational, national, and global ecumenical levels to engage in a process of study, reflection and confession concerning the historic and systemic deprivation of the rights of the Palestinian people, and the use of the Bible by many to justify and support this oppression”;

4. The South African Council of Churches’ (SACC) solidarity work strengthens our own efforts, such as in their statement on the “Imminent annexation of Palestinian West Bank by Israel,” (25 June 2020) which observed that “the illegal Israeli settlers on the West Bank are already executing acts of violence against Palestinian citizens and destroying their olives and livestock,” which it stated “goes against the best prophetic tradition and teachings of both Judaism and Christianity;”

Resolves to:

1. Mandate our Archbishop to place solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for a just peace on the agenda of the Lambeth Conference in 2022, using the South African experience to hold the Apartheid regime accountable to the human family as a possible template;

2. Respectfully request the Lambeth Conference to initiate a process, in collaboration with international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and global faith bodies, to lead to a negotiated settlement that will bring justice and peace in Israel and Palestine within a set timeframe.

Proposer: Bishop Luke Pato of Namibia

Seconder: Bishop Charles May of the Highveld

2 replies on “Synod calls for Lambeth Conference to act on Palestine”

Beautifully crafted dear Bishops Luke and Charles.
An injury to one is an injury to all. It is time that the world react to the cries of Palestinians.

Justice through “a negotiated peace settlement”? You haven’t been paying attention these last 70 years.

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