From 28th to 31st of October 2015, over 20 theologians from around the world, including India, South Africa, Germany, the Philippines, Jamaica, the Netherlands and many more, came together in Bethlehem for a conference, organized by the Council for World Mission. Among the participants members and authors of Kairos Palestine contributed towards a Palestinian Theology of Resistance.
Rev. Mitri Raheb gave a conclusive summary of what means Empire today, especially in the context of the Empire in Palestine and summing up what that means for a theology of resistance. He’s calling to take the long view of history, seeing the ongoing colonization in the region, which started already with Babylon. Fr. Jamal Khader pointed out special theological aspects, which they developed during the evolution of the Kairos Document. Dr. Munther Isaac, vice dean of Bethlehem Bible College, addressed the issue of Land in the context of Empire and presented his approach of a Biblical Theology of Land in Palestine. Rifat Kassis was talking about theological reflections on the special case of Palestinian children, caught in in the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Kairos Global was represented by Prof. Ulrich Duchow, a theologian from University of Heidelberg, Germany and member of Kairos Europe and Kairos Germany, reflecting theology related to the political economy of Palestine.
Questions coming up again and again in the conference have been: what does the term “promised land” means from a Biblical perspective? How to approach the hegemonic discourse in theology? How to swift and promote a theology which includes the Palestinian existence in the land and not only focuses on one people in this land?
Undoubtedly, the Palestinian question is linked to the issue of colonialism and Empire. Addressing especially what is called Christian Zionism, Christian theology has been reluctant to engage intensively with theological connections to Zionism and this attitude has resurfaced in the present discourse of the Palestinian question. Theologically the church is culpable because it has been responsible for the creation of unjust theologies that legitimizes the colonization of the Palestinian people.
Especially nowadays, when we observe an ongoing and increasing violence, we as Christians urgently need to take the theological responsibility for what is going on. The call of the conference is to all Christians and all Churches to act concretely in support of the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Kairos Palestine thanks the Council for World Mission to make this important conference possible. The results of this conference will be published in a book and will be available to the broader public.