What is the TRUTH?

Cities have become mass prisons

" Palestine and Jerusalem From the Counsel of the Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient General Secretary Delivered on October 18, 1996. The original is in Arabic, translation in English by Rev. Labib Kobti.

Ignoring the truth of what is happening to Jerusalem is forgetting that JERUSALEM belongs to all of us -- Jews, Christians and Muslims -- as our Holy City, as well as to everybody of good will. Jeruslam is called to be the City of Peace, Sharing and Love. For most of its history the circumstances of Jerusalem was determined by wars. Stand today with the TRUTH and stop all kinds of VIOLENCE against the people of Jerusalem. The Palestinian Jerusalemites and the Palestinians of the Holy Land find themselves deprived of their fundamental rights with an apartheid policy of confiscation of lands. "In contravention of international law, more and more land is taken out of Palestinian hands and placed under Israeli control by annexation, expropriation and private purchases, often coercive or of questionable legality" (Letter to president Clinton by eight US Religious leaders March 6th, 1996). The situation to-day is worse than ever.

The Text of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient:

"Due to the procrastination of the Peace Process in Jerusalem, the situation is still deteriorating. The anxiety of the Palestinian People is growing since the cities have become mass prisons because of the restraining of freedom of movement and the lack of work. The Holy City is still off limits for the Palestinian Jerusalemites. All this seems to prepare for a big reaction that could lead to violence.

We declare that violence is unacceptable from any source of power. We draw the attention of the authorities to the fact that the security measures imposed by the Israelis may actually lead to violence, and that poses a continuous threat to the needed security.

We appeal to the local and international authorities to alleviate the suffering in the daily living of the Palestinian people, to lift the restrictions imposed on the right to travel freely and to allow the right of entry to the Holy City. We also call upon the authorities to take immediate action to implement as soon as possible a just, comprehensive and final peace with the Palestinian people as well as with Syria and Lebanon. Time, as well as the slowing of the peace process, and hesitation are not serving peace but, on the contrary, are benefiting extremism and violence on both sides.

Jerusalem is first and foremost. The question of Jerusalem must be examined and negotiated in order to find a reasonable solution, in the light of its historical background and importance, as well as in the light of the United Nations resolutions, of the hopes and symbols that the Holy City has for all its citizens, its neighboring people and the world. In this context we join our voices to all our brothers, the Patriarchs and the Head of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, in proclaiming that this city is holy for all three religions: Jewish, Christian and Muslim and that Jerusalem is the key for peace and war. We are forced to express our fears and worries concerning the present disturbing situation in the Holy City which is against the will of the United Nations resolutions and against the just search for peace. We claim that an exclusive sovereignty over the city is an invitation to war, when a call to equally sharing the same rights and duties over Jerusalem by its components, is a call to peace and security for the Holy City and the region as whole.

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