Sunday 12 November 2023

Archbishop's message to Palestine solidarity march

The text of a message read for Archbishop Thabo Makgoba at a march in solidarity with Palestine in Cape Town on Saturday November 11:

The unspeakable violence we are seeing in the land which three religions call holy is a result of the denial of people's rights and the failure of their leaders to work out a just solution for governing the land which they now occupy. The war crimes in which children, women and men are killed indiscriminately – whether in Gaza, the West Bank or Israel – must stop, and stop now, not just for a ceasefire but forever. Hostages must be released and all parties must learn the painful lesson of the last month, that war does not resolve human conflict.

And much as statements and marches should continue for their moral power, we need to elevate our interventions to stop any nation which supplies weapons to parties in the conflict from doing so. We need to call out the shameful partisanship of Western powers in this conflict, to commend countries which have suspended diplomatic ties with Israel and to call on those countries to review diplomatic ties with countries which are supplying arms. If only the world leaders would invest half as much money and energy into peacemaking as they invest in war, we would have peace. It is time to end violence over the Holy Land. It is time to end Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories along with all of Israel’s unjust policies against Palestinians.

We commit ourselves as a church to praying and working for an end to apartheid in the Holy Land and for a just and sustainable peace. And we will not forget others elsewhere who suffer, such as in Ukraine and in Sudan, where a church was bombed on All Saints Day, and where 9,000 have been killed, five-and-a-half-million have been displaced, almost wiped off the face of the earth.

Sisters and brothers, in spite of the apparent hopelessness of many of the situations we face in the world, we must take assurance from our holy books, that justice will prevail and that ultimately we are destined to live in the salaam, the shalom, the peace which our Creator promises us.

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