Dear Fr. Labib,

Find hereby this testimony letter of  Fr. Guido, head of Pontifical Mission for Palestine..
It's very touching

Fr. Raed

13 October 2000

Dear Friends,

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 war.

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 with you”.

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. Guido

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