Israel declared an apartheid state South African Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent

The Anglican Church of Southern Region’s Provincial Standing Committee (PSC) has declared Israel an apartheid state and on pilgrimages to the holy land of Palestine.

The Committee passed the resolutions following the killings and harassment of Palestinian Muslims and Christians by Israeli forces in the State of Palestine.

South African Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said as people of faith who are distressed by the pain of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and who long for security and a just peace for both Palestine and Israel, they can no longer ignore the realities on the ground.

Archbishop Makgoba said they were opposed not to the Jewish people, but to the policies of Israel’s governments, which were becoming ever more extreme.

“For Christians, the Holy Land is the place where Jesus was born, nurtured, crucified and raised.

“Our hearts ache for our Christian brothers and sisters in Palestine, whose numbers include Anglicans but are rapidly declining. People of all faiths in South Africa have both a deep understanding of what it is to live under oppression, as well as experience of how to confront and overcome unjust rule by peaceful means.

“When black South Africans who have lived under apartheid visit Israel, the parallels to apartheid are impossible to ignore. If we standby and keep quiet, we will be complicit in the continuing oppression of the Palestinians,” said Archbishop Makgoba.

Many global human rights bodies including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have now declared Israel an apartheid state.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) national executive committee also declared Israel an apartheid state and most Palestinian civil rights bodies consider this to be true.

“If we are to celebrate peace for Palestinians and security for the Israelis in our time, we need to pray and work for the land we call holy, for an end to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and for full recognition of the Palestinians’ inalienable right to self-determination.

“We yearn for peace and the wholeness of God to be made manifest in Palestine, in Israel and among their neighbouring countries. I pray the prayer we adopted at the last meeting of the Provincial Synod, the ruling body of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa,” Archbishop Makgoba said.

The Dutch Reformed Church Western Cape synod also expressed its opinion that Israel should be declared an apartheid state and has asked its church’s National synod to consider this at its October 2023 Synod.

The PSC, after the meeting, resolved to endorse the position taken by the SACC national executive committee declaring Israel an apartheid state and requested the Archbishop to inform the Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East of the decision.

The Committee has also resolved to express support for the upcoming global anti-apartheid conference on Palestine to be held in Tshwane in November 2023.

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