This article was first published at Christianity Today on November 27.
After 12 years of waiting, evangelicals in Palestine now claim they have greater civil rights than their fellow believers in the Holy Land.
Earlier this month, the president of the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land—which represents congregations and ministries located in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip—triumphantly held aloft his evidence at the once-a-decade general assembly of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).
“Here is the presidential decree signed by … President Mahmoud Abbas,” Munir Kakish told the approximately 800 WEA delegates from 92 nations gathered in Bogor, Indonesia. “Our hearts are full of thankfulness to God for this new declaration.”
When the Palestinian Authority (PA) was created in 1994 following the Oslo Accords, pastors of local evangelical churches met to create a council in order to have a voice with the new government, Kakish told CT.
Ministering in the Holy Land since 1978, Kakish pastors two churches: an independent congregation in Ramallah, Palestine, and a Baptist congregation in Ramla, Israel. They are only 30 miles apart, but divided by the Israeli separation wall.
“I knocked on [the PA’s] doors many times,” he said. “But now the timing was right, and the personnel … were understanding.
“Most of all, it was our persistence to obtain our civil rights as Palestinian citizens.”
Over time, the council—which Kakish has led since 2007—gained credibility as…
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