Late last year the leaders of 13 Christian communities in the Palestinian territories released the “Kairos Palestine Document.” The document, and the ensuing coverage and conversation it provoked, subverted common misconceptions about the Middle East conflict by pointing to three key realities: 1) Palestinian Christians exist, and have much to teach the global church—especially the U.S. church—about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 2) There is an active and growing movement within Palestinian society that advocates nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. 3) These movements have the support of Israeli and American Jewish activists who also oppose policies of the Israeli government that they see as counterproductive to the cause of lasting peace and security for Israel.
We must listen carefully to the voices of our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ, even if we may not be comfortable with every nuance of this 16-page statement. For example, though one might hope for a more explicit denouncement of terrorist violence, the document strongly and repeatedly advocates nonviolence in response to the violence of occupation. It declares, for instance, that “We must resist evil but [Christ] taught us that we cannot resist evil with evil.”