Palestinian Lutheran pastor addresses Presbyterians
The Rev. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem (a member church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land), spoke to delegates of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.’s national convention in Minneapolis in early July. A resolution before the PCUSA called for an immediate cessation of all violence, an end to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, a freeze on the establishment of settlements in those territories, and an agreement about Israel’s absolute right of existence with safe and secure borders. Raheb, a Palestinian Lutheran pastor and a chief author of the Palestinian Kairos document: “A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering” released by Palestinian Christians in December 2009, urged delegates to vote for a strong resolution, knowing that the immediate hardships would be felt by his own countrymen. Still, Raheb argued, the Middle East situation will not change until Western countries pressure Israel to end the occupation.