Kirkpatrick sends letter of protest to Sharon
  LOUISVILLE ó The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has sent the following letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

March 11, 2002

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
3 Kaplan St., Qiryat Ben-Gurion
P.O. Box 187, 91919
West Jerusalem, Israel

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Once again I write to you on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to express grave concern regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. We have previously sent you many strong appeals to exercise your responsibility and authority to take tangible, positive steps to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. We have appealed to you and to Mr.Yasser Arafat to renounce violence and to pursue the ways of peace.

While we do not condone the acts of violence by certain Palestinian extremists, we are appalled that Israel, in response, has continued to punish the entire Palestinian population and its leaders who have been your governmentís partners in the peace process. For the past year and a half, the Israeli army has continued to bombard Palestinian institutions and the civilian population, including those in refugee communities, with merciless attacks.

In the latest news, we have been informed by our Evangelical Lutheran partners of the repeated occupation of the premises of Dar al-Kalima Lutheran School and Wellness Center in Bethlehem. This pattern of military operations where schools, hospitals, ambulances and medical personnel have been attacked clearly breaches international law, and has become abhorrent even to many members of the Israeli military.
We denounce in the strongest terms the Israeli occupation of Dar al-Kalima School.

We protest the continuing degradation of the Palestinian people by Israel.

We again appeal to you for the immediate withdrawal of the military from the Palestinian territories.

We urge you to renounce and to stop this violent madness and seek the course of peaceful negotiations, for the sake of justice, on which Israelís own security depends.

  Finally, we appeal to the God of justice to have mercy upon your people and their Palestinian neighbors and to bring about shalom to the land.

Cordially yours,
Clifton Kirkpatrick
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly