Find hereby this testimony letter of Fr. Guido, head of Pontifical
Mission for Palestine..
It's very touching
13 October 2000
Greetings from Jerusalem and the Holy Land!
When last July President Clinton called for the Camp Davis talks my
immediate reaction was “why does he lead us to war”? At that point
it was very clear to me that negotiations about Jerusalem in the present
situation was one, if not two bridges to far. How could one possibly
negotiate such a difficult question, when thus far one hasn’t been able
to find a solution for, relatively speaking the easier ones? The
blindness of this world leader has now brought us to a war, to an unjust
An unjust war, the result of a biased “impartial” mediator! An unjust
war, which in my view has been pre-meditated, so that the Israelis can
gain by force what they are unable to get through negotiations. An
unjust war whereby the stronger finds an excuse for aggression in the weakness
of the oppressed. An unjust war, in which the lie of the “eternal
victim” is believed more than the truth of the stark reality. An
unjust war, in which the stone receives the condemnation, which the bullet
deserves. An unjust war where each lie becomes an excuse for
yet another reprisal.
Last week I went to visit some of the Arab hospitals in Jerusalem.
The stories were horrendous, stories of people, who had been shot at a
close distance. All bullets, rubber-coated, high velocity and others
were received in the upper part of the body and in the head.
In one hospital I saw an old man in his sixties who had received 8 bullets,
one of them still stuck in his side, which they were unable to remove because
of his condition. An ophthalmic hospital receive 19 victims who had
been shot in their eyes, 8 of whom having lost both eyes. A week later
the same hospital still received people who had been shot the previous
week, and where the initial bump near their eye had developed into a detached
retina. Another hospital compound was occupied by the Israeli troops
who prevented victims to receive help and who cut the hospital off from
the blood bank.
The world looks on, hardly able to do anything, being held captive by
guilt of the past. When will we wake up to the cries of the true victims
of justice and put a stop, or rather how can we stop such tyranny?
It is easy for me to get angry in the face of such injustice.
It is easy to justify the violent thoughts and desires of my own heart.
One would like to look for a quick solution that would finish the tragedy
which is here presently unfolding. But all such quick violent reactions
would not bring the peace that we all desire. It has become clear
to me that only a man of peace can bring peace. Only a man, who in
his own heart has peace, can make peace his gift to others. Thus
Jesus first gift to his disciples after his resurrection was “Peace be
In the midst of the events of the past weeks two things have touched
me. For one, the text in St. Paul: “Jesus is our Peace” who
“reconciles us to God through his cross” (Ephesians 2), and who “reconciles
to himself all things, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians
1). Secondly, the news of the burial of Fr. John Keiser, an American
Mill Hill father who was murdered in Kenyah. The Nuncio in his homily
said the murderers thus tried to stop the Church from speaking out against
injustice. And then, he said something very beautiful addressing
himself to the murderers: “turn to our God who in his mercy will
receive you and forgive you”.
Peace in the Jerusalem and the Holy Land will only come when all parties concerned will turn to God, who sent his Son into the world so that the world could be reconciled to God and as a consequence to one another. Peace will come, when all parties concerned will not refer to themselves as victims of other people’s sins, but take responsibility for their own sins. Peace will come when each men and women will abandon him/herself in to the merciful arms of the Crucified, who has not come to condemn the world, but to take away our sins, our guilt and our shame. Peace will be given to us when we pray with him “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do”! Peace will be given us by the Risen Lord as his first gift, and as the first fruit of our death to own righteousness.
It is these few thoughts, which I want to share with you. Please
pray for those who are responsible to guide and lead us out of the present
difficulties, and put us on the long and painful road to peace. For
peace has only one price, death to self-righteousness.
Before closing this letter, I would like to assure you that I am well.
So far I have been able to do my work, and only had to close the office
a few days because it was safer to stay at home and do the work from my
home. Please be assured of my prayers for you, as I also count upon
your prayers for us here.
May God bless you!
Fr. Raed Awad Abusahlia
of the latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Personal Secretary of H.B. Patriarch Michel Sabbah
P.O.Box 14152 Jerusalem 97500
Tel. 00 972 2 6282323/6272280
Fax 00 972 2 6271652