Here are a few little known facts: Open your eyes and hearts to what you are about to read:
Churches in Bethlehem are not only there for tourists. A community of
about 10,000 Palestinian Christians lives in the Bethlehem area, along
with their Muslim Palestinian brothers. Over 123,000 Christian Palestinians
live in the Holy Land. Many of these Palestinian Christians are descendants
of the early Christians. Over the past 2000 years, they have served and
protected the Christian Holy sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth and
all over Holy Land. Yet they have come to think of themselves as the "forgotten
faithful", because of the isolation they feel from the rest of Christendom.
This is sad because the basis of the faith you preach is rooted in the
Middle East, in the Christian Holy places that Christian Palestinians have
protected for two millennia.
Over the past thirty-four years ever since 1967, Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Gaza have been living under Israeli military occupation, facing daily injustice, persecution and desperate living conditions. Large Jewish settlements and roads and have taken over more and more of their land. Their private homes and properties have been confiscated, damaged or demolished by the Israeli army. They have been prevented from praying in their own churches. They have been shot and killed by random Israeli gunfire, even on their way out of Sunday Mass. This is a FACT- innocent civilians including many children have been killed and thousands injured or maimed for life. They feel abandoned by the world especially their fellow Christians in America which has the most power to influence Israel. They are being ignored. Ancient Christian Holy sites and churches are being shelled and made into swiss cheese with bullet holes, destroyed by Israelis with reckless abandon for no just reason.
Today, the town of Bethlehem is again under a brutal Israeli invasion. Indiscriminate Israeli tank shells have reached the homes of many Palestinian Christians, Churches, and other Christian establishments. Homes are forced into, ransacked and destroyed. Anyone resisting is shot. Many civilians have been killed in their homes. A group of foreigners marching in nonviolent protest were shot at by Israeli tanks; several of them were wounded. A priest and several nuns have been injured by Israeli gunfire too.
God teaches us to turn the other cheek, but not a blind eye to evil injustice. There will never be peace in the Holy Land as long as Israel remains an occupying and colonizing force in the Palestinian Territories. There will never be peace in the Middle East unless Palestinians are allowed to establish their own independent state within sovereign and secure borders.
In the name of all Palestinian Christians, we plead to you to help stop
the Israeli oppression against Palestinians:
• Pray for Palestinian Christians living the daily horror of Israeli military oppression. Pray for them openly at Sunday Mass. Get your parish priests to explain their situation to their congregations.
• Urge all your Archdiocese and Bishops to explain the plight of the Palestinians.
• Write to your congressperson: Ask them to urge Israel to stop their aggression against Palestinians.
• Write to the White House: ask them to urge Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian Territories and allow Muslim and Christian Palestinians to have freedom and sovereignty in their own land.
The irony is that over the past fifty years Western and Christian countries have created, encouraged and funded a Jewish State to displace the descendants of the original Christians of the Holy Land and to steal their lands and property that they have protected and preserved for two millennia. Is that really what we want?
Please contact us if you need more information.
EdwardA.Hazboun, Ph.D., President