Letter from the Holy Land to those who celebrate Christmas

Letter Four

A STATEMENT OF THE PATRIARCHS, BISHOPS, CLERGY AND PEOPLE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES OF JERUSALEM Signed by The Greek Orthodox Patriarch, The Latin Patriarch, The Armenian Patriarch, The Custos of the Holy Land, Coptic Archbishop, Syriac Archbishop, Ethiopian Archbishop, Anglican Bishop, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Vicar, Maronite Patriarchal Vicar, Lutheran Bishop and Catholic Syriac patriarchal Vicar Second Part

"Our Dear Brothers and Sisters, Our faith teaches us that there is not difference between the life of one person and another. There is no difference in God's eyes between Jew and Palestinian, between Arab and foreigner. God is the creator of all. As believers in one God, we plainly state that all must live under the same law. We, therefore, call on the Israeli government to bring all its discriminatory policies to an end. Palestinians should have rights in their country, just as Jews have rights in their country. This is the only way that peace can prevail. Every time the Israeli government gives referential treatment to Jew over Palestinians, it sows the seed of hatred and violence and thus is responsible for the growth of animosity towards its own people. We urge the Israeli government to abstain from the confiscation of land, to return confiscated land to its rightful owners, to stop the demolition of homes, to release all prisoners and detainees, to remove road blocks, and to respect all signed agreements. We call upon the Israeli government to close the recently opened tunnel, to refrain from causing insult and humiliation to the Palestinian people, and treat the Palestinians as genuine partners, who are seeking a life of freedom and dignity in their own country and on their own land. Racial discrimination does not lead to peace and security. Discrimination cannot be the basis for building trust between the two peoples.

"Jerusalem first" is now a priority. It is the heart of the conflict and the key to peace. When the closure of the Jerusalem is lifted and the two parties share sovereignty over it, Jerusalem will become the city of peace. If Israel maintains an exclusive sovereignty over the city, and continues it "judaization," Jerusalem will never be the city of peace. Any peace imposed by the iron fist will remain a fake and temporary peace. Jews will never feel secure and Palestinians will never submit to it. We there insist on an open Jerusalem, the capital for two states; a city that will be a model for the peaceful coexistence between two peoples, Palestinian and Israeli. Thus, Jerusalem will become a genuine symbol of authentic brotherhood and tolerance between the three faiths: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

We call on all authorities concerned to end the violence, to work for the establishment of justice, so that stability might be realized. We ask God to fill our hearts and minds with love, strength, and all that is good, so that our region, our country, and our Jerusalem will have the peace for which we all strive ad pray."

Please help us as you prepare yourself and your family to celebrate Christmas, to work for JUSTICE and PEACE in the Holy Land. Take then concrete steps. Send this message and the other messages we sent to you to other servers, post them to you friends. The Holy Land need your help. We are just calling for JUSTICE and PEACE. Thanks. For more information: LabibKobti@aol.com