The Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek. Dr. Ateek, co-founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre and former Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem.

A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine–Israel Conflict is the latest book by the Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek. Dr. Ateek is the co-founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre and is a former canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem.

On May 2, Dr. Ateek launched his new book in Toronto and shared his insights on justice and reconciliation in the Holy Land. Dr. Ateek spoke about the importance of international law in the region, “if I want to resolve the conflict, I have to look to international law, not the Bible; because the Bible can be, and is, interpreted in many ways”.

He further elaborated that although the Bible does not contain solutions, it inspires us to do justice. The central theme of the Bible is our covenant with God, a covenant that calls for justice for all of God’s people.

When asked how long the occupation can continue, Dr. Ateek’s answer was: until we stand for justice. Whenever there is a struggle for liberation, there needs to be liberation for all. We are called into costly solidarity. We need to actively stand for justice in word and action. Dr. Ateek told the audience that if people do not listen, continue to make your witness: “do not be afraid.”

—Written by Amy Zavitz. Amy served as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Israel-Palestine in January-April 2018.

Book Details

Foreword by Walter Brueggemann

Addressing what many consider the world’s most controversial conflict, Naim Ateek offers a succinct primer on liberation theology in the context of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and self-determination. Beginning with the historical roots of this struggle, he shows how the memory of the Holocaust served to trump the claims and aspirations of the native inhabitants of Palestine, and how later Israeli occupation and settlements in the West Bank have contributed to their suffering and oppression.

Supported by many Western Christians, Israeli claims to the land rely on a particular exclusivist reading of the Bible. In contrast, a Palestinian theology of liberation responds with a counter-strategy for biblical interpretation, emphasizing the prophetic themes of inclusivity and justice. Ateek concludes by providing principles for achieving security, peace, and justice for all peoples in Israel/Palestine.

Editorial Reviews

“Fr. Naim Ateek offers the reader a profound, nonviolent approach to confronting the injustice suffered by some of the world’s most poor and marginalized peoples—the Palestinians. May this book bring about the longed-for justice!” —Mary Grey, Professor Emerita, University of Wales, Lampeter

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