23 July 2017

A delegation of Palestinian Christians from the Holy Town of Bethlehem are currently on tour in South Africa. The group, hosted by the SA Council of Churches among other organizations, includes Dr Rifat Kasis of the Lutheran Church, Father Khader Jamal of the Catholic Church and Ms. Mona Nasser, a youth activist, from the Greek Orthodox Church.

People often conflate the Land of Israel (the one mentioned in the Bible) and the Modern State of Israel (created in 1948 at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians). There also exists confusion between the Israelites of the Bible with Israelis of the Modern State of Israel. Palestinian Christians, descendants of the first followers of Christ, insist that they, together with all Palestinians, share the same suffering under Israel’s regime of Apartheid (click here for an IOL article titled “Christians no longer welcome in Israel”).

Palestinian Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna explains that: “Israel desires to conceal the Christian dimension of the Palestinian issue. Israel attempts to present this conflict as a Jewish-Muslim religious conflict, and it also attempts to neutralize the Christian position, and therefore it is irritated by the growing Christian voices raised on the Palestinian issue.”

Churches across the world are increasingly holding Israel accountable for its violations of international law. Churches that have adopted a BDS boycott of Israel or similar measures in recent years include the over 500 000 member United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), the 2 million strong Episcopalian Church in the USA, the Mennonite Church of the USA, the Presbyterian Church of the US, the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, Quakers, Unitarian Universalists, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the over 1 million member Council of African Independent Churches (CAIC) and the General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), representing over 80 million Christians.

Below are some of the Palestinian Christian delegation’s upcoming events in South Africa:

[Closed] Seminar with churches and solidarity organizations
DATE:Sunday 22 July, 18h00
VENUE: BDS South Africa offices, 77 De Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

[Closed] Engagement with Pan African Womens Organisation
DATE: Monday 23 July 09h00

Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture
Followed by Sharpeville wreath laying and visit to families of Sharpeville massacre
DATE: Monday 23 July, 17h00

Engagement with Palestinian Christians from the Holy Town of Bethlehem
With Mathole Motshekga (South African Member of Parliament, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and ANC NEC Member)
DATE: Tuesday 24 July, 12h00
VENUE: Jabavu Evangelical Lutheran Center, 833 Diokane Drive, Central Western Jabavu, Soweto, Johannesburg

[Closed] Engagement with Diplomats
Hosted by the Embassy of Palestine
DATE: Wednesday 24 July 2018

Friday Mosque Lecture
DATE: Friday 27 July 2018, 12h00
VENUE: Masjidul Islam, Brixton

Soweto-Palestine Engagement
Plight of Palestinian Christians Living Under Israeli Apartheid
DATE: Friday 27 July 2018, 12h00
VENUE: VIP Lounge, UJ Soweto Campus, Chris Hani Drive, Soweto, Johannesburg
Hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Africa and the South African Students Congress

Sunday Mass
DATE: Sunday 29 July 2018, 09h00
VENUE: Methodist Church, Rockville, Soweto

Sunday Mass
DATE: Sunday 29 July 2018, 09h00
VENUE: Luthern Church, Springs


To arrange interviews with any of the visiting Palestinian Christian guests kindly contact 0714848208

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA