Publication on the churches’ efforts for peace in the Middle East

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) has reported on its efforts for peace in the Middle East in a new publication, including the organization’s position on the Christian Palestinian Kairos Palestine Document.

The small Christian minority in the Middle East has been directly affected by both emigration and radicalization. The political situation seems hopeless in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The upheavals of the “Arab Spring” have only exacerbated the situation further. The FSPC Council traveled to the region, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, in late 2010 to develop a better understanding of the complex situation there. The FSPC has published a report on “the churches of the Middle East and their commitment to peace” as well as a statement on the Kairos Palestine Document, a complaint and cry of hope on the part of the Christian Palestinians living there amidst all of the tensions of the region.

The FSPC demonstrated, through its tour, its solidarity with the region’s threatened Christian minority, and gained useful insights into the commitment of religions to peace in the Middle East. It is the sincere view of the FSCP that the dialogue among the religions of the Middle East must in fact occur as a “trialogue” among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as a means of overcoming misconceptions.

In its statement on the Kairos Palestine Document, the FSPC recognized the urgency of the Christian Palestinians’ appeal, and joining it in denouncing the misuse of biblical texts to justify political positions or as an excuse for disregarding international law. The FSPC emphasizes that the right of Israel to exist and the right of Palestinians to state sovereignty must both be upheld, with potential existing for a solution based on the broadly and internationally recognized border of 1967 along the “Green Line”.

The Kairos Document calls for a boycott against Israel. The FSPC sees this, however, as counterproductive and precisely the sort of retribution that the authors of the Kairos Palestine Document actually mean to reject. “One should however, consider how the marketing and consumption of products from illegal settlements can be avoided and how the Palestinian economy can be purposefully strengthened,” the FSPC maintains.

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