Without doubt the Teleconference (All Saints Pasadena, CA and St. Bartholomew, New York City) of February 19th " Waging Reconciliation in the Holy Land: Salaam, Shalom, Peace" with Most Rev. Frank T. Grisworld, President Bishop, hosting important speakers and organizations from the Holy Land and the USA is one of the most important event of this year.
Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, and Canon Naim Ateek president of Sabeel spoke of the many suffering of the People of the Holy land, Christians and Muslims, about thier challenges, hope and dream: Palestinians want peace with ISRAEL as a STATE and not with ISRAEL as an OCCUPATION. Ending Occupation is a US National Interest. The Future of Israel is together with the Palestinians and the Arab Word. The USA should help Israel to have friends and not enemies, the USA is not helping Israel in letting it doing all some Israeli Leaders want for their own interests. The USA is failing the hopes of the Israeli people and the Arabs. Jerusalem should be the symbol to HEAL the two people (Palestinians and Israelis) and bring them together to cooperate for peace and Justice.
This important TELECONFERENCE showed us:
1) The IMPORTANCE OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS in waging reconciliation
2) The NEED OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS to take in hand the work of reconciliation
3) The NECESSITY OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS to come together and DARE TO SAY IT to the WHITE HOUSE: we do not agree, you need to change
4) The HOPE OF THE PEOPLE on the RELIGIOUS LEADERS to at last work hand in hand and bring PEACE AND JUSTICE to the Middle East
This wonderful work of the TELECONFERENCE with beautiful delegates from everywhere coming to say yes to a WORK FOR THE BEST SHOULD:
1) Give us hopes that they will do something
2) ENCOURAGE us that things will change
3) HELP US to see that our US ADMINISTRATION will soon have the RELIGIOUS LEADERS STEP IN and DARE TO SAY it clearly that the RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIANS as any people on the world should be recognized and PROTECTED.
The TELECONFERENCE is a good sign on these dark days. Will it bring
us to a new era?
1) Really the RELIGIOUS LEADERS will work a clear STATEMENT, already the CEMP has one, the Sabeel has an other, Al-Bushra.org on http://www.al-bushra.org/Religious/statement.html has an other.
2) They will bring the STATEMENT to their people and call on every church, temple, synagogue and mosque to proclaim it as the WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
3) They bring it to the MEDIA all over
4) THEY IMPOSE IT on our ADMINISTRATION
5) AND SHOW how our ADMINISTRATION HAD FAILED OUR EXPECTATIONS AS AMERICANS FOR JUSTICE AND TRUTH
THEN, YES, then, yes, the TELECONFERENCE will fill the gabs in our hearts saddened because of so long ignorances, so long misunderstandings and misinformations and so long injustices towards the Palestinians and the hardship of an Israeli Occupation of Palestine and building settlements with our American Tax-Money.
The President of Sabeel, Canon Naim Ateek, came with the following practical ideas (I hope that we can find them on Sabeel.org, I did not find them till now). We as Friends of Sabeel should start to think about and implement:
1) Empower the Church to make reconciliation Bishops, clergy, rabbis, sheiks and people should in every city demonstrate in front of Israeli consulates against APARTHEID in Israel. Reconciliation will come with justice.
I think that we can do that if the above mentioned strategy will be done: I mean if the RELIGIOUS LEADERS will come with a CLEAR stand and STATEMENT and this statements will be read in churches, temples, synagogues and mosques and brought all over by the Media and clearly presented to our US Administration.
2) Remove the impediment of peace by people in power. A lot of our important
people are frightened by the AIPAC, they dare not to speak because they
are afraid to loose the possibility to be elected as senator or in the
congress. We need to address this issue and dare to speak out. A Free Congress
of such things is the best of our US nation. Please, read more about this
3) Address the Media Bias. Religious Leaders should stop the bias Media,
respond to the Christian-Zionists with their own religious media and in
writing to the national medusa Religious leaders should make more press
conferences than ever. They have the obligation to EDUCATE the American
Public Opinion on the truth and stop all misinformations.
More about the Christian-Zionists and Media,
please visit: http://www.al-bushra.org/ecu-inter/zionist.htm
I think, Dear Friends, that we do have, here in the USA an important mission. We can do it, we must do it, we are called by God to be sign to hope, justice, peace and truth.
HAND IN HAND:
A) I call on the president of the Coordinators of the Friends of Sabeel
in the USA in America (we are Fr. James David and myself Fr. Labib Kobti
coordinators in North California) to work for a meeting so we can meet,
know each other and try to coordinate a strategy together for our US nation.
B) I call on the Coordinators to have a kind of emailing list for them to exchange experience with Sabeel Jerusalem and England and find out how we can do better EDUCATION here and there.
C) I call on the coordinators to find ways and share how we can implement the ideas of our President Canon Naim Ateek and how we can continue the hopes and dreams that the TELECONFERENCE gave us.
With love and respect,
Abouna Labib Kobti