FREE PALESTINE! An Online Ecumenical Solidarity Gathering to End the Occupation!
Jointly organised by National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas and the Ecumenical Bishops Forum
Free Palestine! An Online Ecumenical Solidarity Gathering to End the Occupation! Took place on the 5th of June 2021. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. Luke 4:18, NIV
For more than 70 years, the Palestinian people have been subjected to immense colonization and occupation of their land. The State of Israel backed up by the US and other Western Countries have continued to imposed institutionalized discrimination against them under the Occupied Palestinian Territories . This Apartheid through Israeli control have resulted to tremendous suffering of the Palestinian people. Massive evictions, land confiscation and demolition of their own homes in their own lands have resulted to unprecedented displacement of lives and livelihoods only exacerbated by chronic poverty amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the years and years of discrimination against the Palestinian people over access to public lands, services and employment have aggravated their situation into searing humanitarian crisis.
To this day, the continuing catastrophe of loss of lands and livelihood remain unabated. The ongoing attacks on Gaza Strip and the West Bank have already claimed hundreds of lives, and disproportionately uprooted the Palestinian people. At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in 11 days of Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed .
The plight of our Palestinian siblings of being continuously uprooted from their own homes and land are the same with the situation of our National Minorities in the Philippines. Our Indigenous people along with our Moro sisters and brothers who live in the fringes of our society have also been experiencing decades long of institutional neglect and oppression.
As Christians, we pray for peace in Palestine, we also stand with them to end the on-going occupation of their lands. Our call to Free Palestine also reverberates to the call to free all the oppressed people in the world- especially those that are historically marginalized and exploited. As Christians, we have a critical role to dismantle powers that denies life and subjugate people. For our God is the God of life, and the One that liberates.
With this, the Ecumenical Community through the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Kalipunan ng Kristiyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas and the Ecumenical Bishops Forum organised a virtual gathering with the theme: Free Palestine! An Online Ecumenical Solidarity Gathering to End the Occupation! In this gathering we deliberated on:
1. Present the historical context and current situation of the Palestine-Israel conflict.
2. Witnessed the historical role of Christianity on the ongoing situation in Palestine; and
3. Extended our solidarity to the people of Palestine as we recognized the connection of struggle of Palestinian people to the Philippines’ displaced people.