Postfach 13 45
61103 Bad Vilbel
Overcoming the Violence of Despair
A Declaration by Pax Christi, German Section as concluded at the
Convention, Burg Rothenfels, 12 November 2000
Five years after the signing of the „Oslo-II“-accords and the assassination
of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, the Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Process is on the verge of perishing in violence, despair and new hatred.
In the light of the contacts we have had with friends on both sides for
years, we are horrified about the recent outbreaks of violence, causing the
death of more than 240 persons, mostly Palestinians and to a large extend
young people, sometimes even children, acts of lynching on both sides,
numerous violent attacks on Palestinians perpetrated by Israeli settlers
and air-raids on Palestinian cities. We consider this violence as a result
of a policy in which the opportunity for peace was not taken resolutely and
Despite the existence of a proper civil administration in towns of partial
Palestinian autonomy, the segmentation into A-, B-, and C-Zones allows
neither economic growth nor the development of a social infrastructure in
the Palestinian Territories.
The recent clashes in the West Bank and Gaza, provoked by the visit of the
Israeli conservative nationalist politician Ariel Sharon to Haram al-Sharif
(the Temple Mount), are to be seen as an expression of powerlessness and
During the Peace Process, the confiscation of land, the destruction of
houses and olive groves, the expansion of Israeli settlements and
bypass-roads and the blocking of whole neigbourhoods have continued, all
contradicting the already agreed on peace treaties.
International contacts are for Palestinians possible only via Israel.
Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have been dislocated. While Jews from
all over the world can immigrate into Israel, Palestinians dislocated from
their land are denied their right of return.
For the Palestinians, as being one of two unequal partners, the Peace
Process has increasingly become a continuation of lasting humiliation,
without prospects of a decent life. Palestinians are still not protected
from the violence perpetrated by heavily armed Israeli settlers attacking
their villages. In the recent military actions taken by the Israeli army,
Palestinians were hit by carefully aimed shots. These acts can hardly be
qualified as life-saving actions but as massive violations of the human
rights laws and infractions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. According to
Amnesty International, the Israeli military can be regarded as the
committing of war crimes.
What peace requires is more than a joint Israeli-Palestinian cooperation
military and intelligence services. Peace requires mutual respect and
recognition of the other as an equal partner in peace and a common vision
of dignity, justice, well-being, security, political sovereignty and
economic growth. The two peoples on this tiny land are bound to share one
We support the efforts made by Israeli, Palestinian and also joint
Israeli-Palestinian Non Governmental-Organizations working for peace and
human rights and declare our solidarity with them.
We appeal to the government of the State of Israel, as the dominant
participant in the the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process in terms of
political means, military equipment and economic growth the, to stop the
violence perpetrated by Israeli military, to withdraw from those
territories which, in violation of international laws and relevant
UN-resolutions, have been occupied since 1967 and to further the formation
of a Palestinian State with East-Jerusalem as its capital.
We appeal to the Palestinian National Authority to promote non-violent
forms of protest and to contribute to a new spirit of dialogue. We also
demand the PNA to respect human rights and to further the democratization
of Palestinian society.
We appeal to the government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the
European Union to take our demands into consideration and to encourage the
participants in the Peace Process accordingly. We also appeal to the
German government and the EU to stop the arms trade and to support the
establishment of International Peacekeeping Forces maintained by the United
Nations Security Council in the Occupied Territories. The mediation of the
conflict can not be handled alone by a political power which itself is
biased, such as the USA.
In accordance with Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, president of
Christi International we trust that the Palestinian people „will have life
and freedom, sooner or later. We hope it will be sooner than later. Because
violence cannot be the guide of life in this Holy Land. Justice is the only
guide and symbol.“