Palestine and Jerusalem

From the Counsel of the Catholic Patriarchs of Orient
General Secretary
Delivered on October 18, 1996
translated in English by Rev. Labib Kobti

"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 prohibited for the Palestinians 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 that the security measures imposed actually by the Israelis may lead to violence, and poses a continuous threat to the needed security.

We appeal to the local and international authorities to alleviate the suffering on 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 an immediate action to implement as soon as possible the just and comprehensive and final peace with the Palestinian people as well as with Syria and Lebanon. Because time as well as the slowing of the peace process and hesitation is not serving peace but on the contrary is benefiting extremism and violence on both sides.

Jerusalem 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 to 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 proclaming 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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Copyright © 1996 Catholic Information Network (CIN) - December 18, 1996