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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ biggest group of Christian churches urged their members to reject Israel’s “illegal occupation” of Palestine as they called for “peace based on justice.”
“Churches must not condone Zionist rhetoric among Christians who legitimize as a right of ‘the chosen people’ the illegal occupation of Palestinian properties and other violations of human life and dignity. These outdated and irresponsible claims must be rectified,” read a resolution by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).
The full text of the resolution, sent by the council to Rappler on Monday, November 27, was unanimously approved during the 26th General Convention of the NCCP. The recent general convention, the Christian council’s highest policy-making body, was attended by 107 church leaders.
The Zionist movement, which sought to bring Jews back to what they deemed as their historic homeland in the area of Palestine, is crucial to the creation of the modern-day state of Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
While describing the situation as “complex,” the resolution sees the war as the result of “decades-long occupation and the Palestinian people’s resistance to it.”
“The modern state of Israel was created through agreements of countries like the United Kingdom and the United States with the support of the United Nations in what Palestinians call the Nakba (meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic), the mass displacement and dispossession of the homes of Palestinians in 1948,” the NCCP resolution stated.
A Rappler investigation revealed how some Christian groups on social media have latched on to Zionist claims, which “focus on interpretations that highlight Israel’s biblical significance.”
The delegates also urged an immediate de-escalation to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, and for the parties to uphold international humanitarian law by allowing “the free flow of humanitarian assistance” to Palestinians, and their safe return “to their homes to restore their communities and lives.”
“With the current situation in Gaza so egregious as to be described as a genocide by human rights watchdogs, the churches are obligated to band together to protect the rights of civilians, including the right to life, the right to resist occupation and the right to self-determination,” read part of the resolution.
“We encourage all peoples of faith to acknowledge the suffering of victims of war and the undeniable history of violence between the people of Palestine and Israel,” it added.
In an earlier statement, the NCCP scored Israel over its “lopsided” war with Palestine, as the group called for a ceasefire and prayers for a “just peace.”
The NCCP, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, comprises 10 Protestant and non-Roman Catholic churches. The group is known for its progressive and outspoken stance on issues of social justice in the Philippines and the world. – Rappler.com