An Asia-Pacific Statement of Faith Communities on Israel as an Apartheid State

 by Global Kairos Asia Pacific Palestine Solidarity (GKAPPS)

israel apartheid

Global Kairos Asia Pacific Palestine Solidarity (GKAPPS) is a group of Asian Christian Theologians from 21 countries working in alliance with all religious communities and civil society movements in the Asia-Pacific region and around the Globe to act decisively to address the brutal and horrific situations of the continuing Nakba that the Palestinians have been facing for more than seven decades.

Over the last year, GKAPPS has followed the widening analysis and political expressions of global solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation from the stranglehold of Israeli Apartheid. GKAPPS strongly disapproves the colonialist, racist roots of oppression in Palestinian territories. That this situation has continued unabated since 1967 is indication of the failure of the international community to live by the standards set by the United Nations. The UN in its basic intent asserts that justice is an ideal of accountability and fairness in the protection and vindication of rights and the prevention and punishment of wrongs.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law. It is a vital instrument whether in addressing injustices, in times of conflicts, in societies suffering repression, and in our efforts towards achieving universal enjoyment of human rights. The international community on December 10 1948 made the unequivocal commitment to upholding dignity and justice for all regardless of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, social category colour, religion, and language.

Israel as an Apartheid State

Since 1967, the Israeli government has adopted policies and practices of seizing land which has historically belonged to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Apartheid is being practiced by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory in multiple ways. Israel operates a political pogrom consisting in acutely discriminatory against Palestinians using dual legal and political systems that privileges the 700,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living in the 300 illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

GKAPPS affirms the internationally-understood legal definition of apartheid – a system of institutionalized racial segregation. Israel falls within the scope of this definition as a political regime which deliberately and clearly prioritizes fundamental political, legal and social rights to one group over another, within the same geographic unit on the basis of one’s racial-national-ethnic identity”. This is nothing short of a Crime against Humanity.

As a recent GKAPPS conference noted, “Palestinians remain trapped in a deepening cycle of violence, humiliation, and despair. The Palestinians suffer from land theft, increased settlements, forcible transfers, demolition and desecration of heritage and holy sites, the “apartheid wall”, checkpoints, an overriding military presence, arbitrary and extra-judicial killings, torture, the denial of fundamental rights, an abysmal rate of child deaths, collective punishment, an abusive military court system, periods of intensive Israeli military violence… and the list of human rights violations does not end. Military brutality has no tangible limits. Israel arrested about 1,300 boys and girls in 2021, and from January to March, 2022 more than 200 children have been detained.

Gaza, with more than two million inhabitants, has been hermetically sealed off by a military blockade of land, air and sea since 2007. It is identified appropriately as an “open air prison”. It has been regularly bombarded by military aircraft, drones and tanks killing thousands of civilians, wounding many times more, making half a million homeless, with the destruction of means of livelihood.

Meanwhile, more than six million Palestinians are stateless refugees living in refugee camps in countries neighboring Palestine – for several generations- since being driven out of their homes. Children in these refugee camps are born as refugees, grow up as refugees and die as refugees. Israel refuses the exercise of their Right of Return, which is enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Resolution 194 passed soon after the Nakba, and which gives them the right to return to Palestine, their country of origin.

Asian faith communities in solidarity with the struggle of Palestinians

It is the firm view of GKAPPS, that Israel must abandon its political criminality. Instead it must follow the notion of Convivencia which will permit the ‘coexistence’ of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities and by extension the cultural interaction and exchange fostered by such proximity. As people drawn from inter-connected faith communities in Asia, GKAPPS stands for justice and commits to oppose and campaign in the 21 countries from where its members are drawn.

Rev (Dr) Huang Po Ho                                                              Sr. (Dr.) Shalini Mulackal
Co Moderator                                                                              Co-Moderator
GKAPPS                                                                                         GKAPPS


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