Issue No.
162, October 2011 Latest update 7 2012f June 2012, at 3.12 am
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     Book of the Month

Kairos for Palestine
By Rifat Odeh Kassis
Published by Badayl/Alternatives, September 2011, 198 pages, €15.00

In December 2009, Kairos Palestine was launched. A document written by Palestinian theologians and activists, Kairos Palestine seeks to mobilise local and worldwide Christian communities to pressure their countries to end the injustice toward the Palestinians. It points out the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupation and encourages the reader to revisit the theological justifications of this occupation. It is a document that urges Israel to adhere to and abide by international law. It offers universal messages to various religious groups to join hands to end this injustice.

The book, Kairos for Palestine, has emerged from this universal call. Written by the coordinator of the Kairos Initiative and one of the co-authors of the document, it tackles various issues related to the Palestinian situation, frequently using the document as a compass to navigate through these topics.

Kairos for Palestine starts by offering insight into the Palestinian struggle as experienced by the author while shedding light on the historical background of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in the wider Middle East. It gives a personal account of how Palestinian families, especially in villages, experienced the Nakba and the Naksa and all the subsequent defeats and losses that the Palestinian people have endured. It then discusses the historical hegemonic positions of the key players and powers in the region as it takes the reader through the Ottoman period, the British presence, the rise of Arab Nationalism, the role of the Soviets, and the current situation by explaining the creation of Israel and the American role and policies in the region, which make the Middle East a fertile ground for gaining power. The book illustrates the effect of this hegemonic role of the United States on such topics as democracy, development, and fundamentalism. It also gives an account of the various forces of resistance in the Middle East, both secular and religious, as counter-players in the game of hegemony.

Kairos for Palestine also attempts to explain the situation of Arab Christians in general and Palestinian Christians in particular as an important layer of the Arab nations’ heritage, concentrating both on their realities and their dreams. It sheds light on both Islamic fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalism in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The book also analyses the twelve Kairos documents that were published prior to the Palestinian document, as they target different types of injustice - poverty, oppression, classism, apartheid, occupation, war, etc. Furthermore, the book presents the experience of the Kairos Palestine Initiative and explains its points and highlights. It concentrates on the intersection of religion, non-violence, and social justice and the importance of such a document in the current situation in which Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, find themselves.

Kairos for Palestine also discusses the scope of the Arab Spring and the atmosphere of change that confronts all Arabs at the moment. Although the book’s title is linked to the Kairos document, it is not solely an analysis of the document. Kairos for Palestine puts forward the various tactics used currently in non-violent resistance, such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel (BDS), and it also discusses key issues such as the refugee problem, normalisation, the media, pilgrimages to Palestine, and Jerusalem.

Kairos for Palestine is available in select bookstores in Palestine and can be ordered online at www.spreadthe3rdvoice.blogspot.com or www.madeinpalestine.de.
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