Press Release of Pax Christi International

Stop military invasion

Brussels, 2 April 2002

Pax Christi, the International Peace Movement, calls for the immediate stop of the military invasion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by the Israeli army. According to sources from Bethlehem and Jerusalem, religious sites have been attacked and a priest has been killed. According to the Fourth Geneva Conventions, places of worship such as synagogues, mosques and churches should never be assaulted.

Suicide bombings by Palestinians have to stop as well. Innocent people may not become victims. The occupation of Israel of the West Bank and Gaza has to come to an end. The Palestinian Authorities should be able to govern their people and land.

Pax Christi International is urging the international community to deploy as soon as possible an international presence, either in the form of international peacekeeping mission or monitors. We are convinced that an effective international presence in the region with the power to monitor the situation and to reduce the use of violence can achieve a cease-fire or a cessation of violence.

The Arab Educational Institute in Bethlehem (AEI) is an Affiliated Organisation to Pax Christi International. On 1 April, the AEI made an appeal to all people to raise their voice and urge governments to put pressure on PM Ariel Sharon to withdraw the Israeli Forces from the Palestinian occupied territories, and to lift the siege on the Palestinian people and its President. They also demand the immediate intervention of the United Nations by “sending International peacekeeping forces to implement the relevant United Nations resolutions, to impose a ceasefire and to reverse the present
catastrophic developments.”

Today, HB Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and President of Pax Christi International, led a non-violent peace march from Jaffa Gate to PM Sharon’s offices in Rahavia’s Street. Other Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem, as well as many religious congregations and ordinary people, have supported the Patriarch. Msgr. Michel Sabbah is offering to begin a mediation for peace and security for all the peoples in the Holy Land.