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"Gaza has become the moral compass of the world... we have to take sides."

12:00 May 7 2024 Cape Town, South Africa

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Palestinian pastor Reverend Munther Isaac during his visit in South Africa. (Photo: Nurah Tape, Palestine Chronicle( Published by The Palestine Chronicle. Republished by IMEMC News
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By Nurah Tape for The Palestine Chronicle

Delivering a sermon at a Cape Town church, Isaac reiterated that Gaza has become the moral compass of the world.

In a message to the Global South, Palestinian pastor Reverend Munther Isaac has said that Palestine is not an isolated issue.

“What happens in Palestine impacts other contexts directly and indirectly. So we’re in the same boat together, we’re in the same battle together,” the pastor, who is visiting South Africa, said in response to a question from The Palestine Chronicle at a press briefing on Sunday.

“Today it’s Palestine. Tomorrow it’s somewhere else because it’s the same mentality. It’s the same ideology of segregation and supremacy. So we have to unite in saying no to this, to unite in providing an alternative that is based on coming together without these barriers or divisions or rankings.”

Reverend Isaac’s powerful Christmas Eve sermon at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem last year went viral when he criticized the “hypocrisy and racism of the Western world” as well as the “complicity of the church” regarding Israel’s ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip that has killed over 34,000 Palestinians to date.

On the question of Palestinian unity at a societal level, the reverend said Palestinian Muslims and Christians are “doing well right now.”

“When you go through a genocide, you become one. And we always say a bullet does not differentiate if you’re a Christian or Muslim. Everyone is a target right now, and we can’t talk of any differences.”

‘Normalized’ Genocide
Delivering a sermon at a Cape Town church, Isaac reiterated that Gaza has become the moral compass of the world.

“When I said Gaza has become the moral compass, I believe Gaza has divided the world, and we have to take sides right now regardless of our faith, nationality, or ethnicity. We have to take sides. Will you be on the right side of history?” he emphasized.

Reverend Isaac added that when “we come together as Muslims, Christians, and many Jews around the world, and people of other faiths, we are united not just in our concern for Gaza and ending the genocide.”

“We are united in saying we’re all equal…war does not solve things. We’re tired of colonialism, tired of exploiting people, for the sake of expansion and wealth. And we have to come together for this common cause,” he continued.

Describing his visit to South Africa as “my own spiritual pilgrimage”, Isaac said he wished he was not visiting “during a genocide that has been taking place under the watch of the world for seven months.”

“This is a genocide that has been normalized. These are the days we live in,” he lamented.

Isaac is part of a delegation of Palestinians visiting the country to not only “say thank you” for the solidarity, he said, but to solidify that support. The delegation is also set to attend the Global Anti-apartheid Global Conference in Johannesburg later this week.

The reverend thanked South Africa “for your political support evident in the heroic acts at the International Court of Justice. And I know it came with a costly price.”

‘Naive Peacemaking’
Isaac slammed “the silence of many who chose neutrality and what I call naive peacemaking in which they want to be neutral.”

He added: “When there is a genocide, you can’t just sit on the sides and watch and pray for peace. You have to intervene, you have to speak out, you have to call things in their name.”

South Africa filed a case against Israel at the ICJ last December accusing Tel Aviv of committing acts of genocide in its military assault on Gaza.

The reverend stressed that “When a genocide is justified, it is racism at its worst. When a genocide is normalized, it’s racism at its worst. And when you view others not just as inferior, but also as dispensable, this is racism at its worst. This is apartheid.”

He went on to say “Any ideology or theology that classifies people into chosen, superior, entitled versus heathen, inferior or servant – this theology or ideology is evil. Let’s call it for what it is.”

Repeating what he said in his Christmas Eve sermon, the reverend said “If Jesus would be born today he would be born under the rubble of Gaza.”

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,735 Palestinians have been killed, and 78,108 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the enclave.

‘Walls Do Fall’
Isaac shared that he was shown a part of Germany’s fallen Berlin Wall on display in Cape Town’s city centre.

“I was reminded that walls do fall. And the apartheid wall in Palestine will fall. And I look forward to the day when we will bring parts of that ugly wall to put it on display here.”

He emphasized: “We need to keep challenging structures of empire, of coloniality that exist today.”

“This is about collective humanity,” the reverend added.

Forced Displacement
Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded in the ongoing military onslaught are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Nurah Tape is a South Africa-based journalist. She is an editor with The Palestine Chronicle.
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