Oban Concern for Palestine would like to join in the welcome to Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, who arrived in Edinburgh on 15 July 2014 for a one-week speaking tour.
The Archbishop is a staunch critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and a co-author of Kairos Palestine, a document drawn up in 2009 by Palestinian Christians and since adopted by the World Council of Churches. Kairos Palestine calls for global ecumenical support against ongoing oppression in the Holy Land.
In response to Kairos Palestine 2009, Israeli Knesset member Yariv Levin, who advocates the annexation of the State of Palestine by the State of Israel, introduced legislation to create a legal distinction between Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel. This has since been passed into Israeli law. Many consider this as a move designed to further discriminate against Israel’s Arab Muslims and, by privileging Arab Christians, weaken the global censure of Israeli apartheid by churches across the world.
During his speaking tour, the Archbishop will speak about the dangers posed by these latest attempts to use religion as a tool to ‘divide and conquer’. He will attempt to galvanise an international response to Palestinian suffering that transcends all Christian denominations and all faiths.
The Archbishop’s speaking tour of Scotland coincides with the latest round of Israeli destructive action against the Palestinians locked into Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment. Collective punishment is a war crime under Article 33 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (aka the 4th Geneva Convention) adopted in August 1949, to which Israel is a party.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Middle East News, 16 July 2014, in nine days of fighting, the Palestinian death toll surpassed 200, while one civilian had been killed on the Israeli side. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, among the Palestinian dead were at least 25 women and 40 children.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday (15/16 July 2014), Israel had warned tens of thousands of Palestinians to ‘clear out of their homes by morning’. Concern is growing that Israel is about to embark on a ground invasion of Gaza after the five-hour ceasefire today, Thursday, 17 July 2014.
Where does the Israeli government expect these tens of thousands of Palestinians to go in a territory under lock-down and already bursting at its seams?
Updated details of Archbishop Atallah Hanna‘s speaking tour of Scotland,
The Palestinian Right of Return is Non-negotiable