moment of truth
word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering
This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world
about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted
to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its
people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to
stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement,
suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues
while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State,
Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We
address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians
in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them
to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies
that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the
In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that
the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that
any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings
because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the
oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples.
This document did not come about spontaneously, and it is not the
result of a coincidence. It is not a theoretical theological study or a policy
paper, but is rather a document of faith and work. Its importance stems from the
sincere expression of the concerns of the people and their view of this moment
in history we are living through. It seeks to be prophetic in addressing things
as they are without equivocation and with boldness, in addition it puts forward
ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and all forms of
discrimination as the solution that will lead to a just and lasting peace
with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its
The document also demands that all peoples, political leaders and
decision-makers put pressure on Israel and take legal measures in order to
oblige its government to put an end to its oppression and disregard for the
international law. The document also holds a clear position that non-violent
resistance to this injustice is a right and duty for all Palestinians including
The initiators of this document have been working on it for more
than a year, in prayer and discussion, guided by their faith in God and their
love for their people, accepting advice from many friends: Palestinians, Arabs
and those from the wider international community. We are grateful to our friends
for their solidarity with us.
As Palestinian Christians we hope that this document will provide
the turning point to focus the efforts of all peace-loving peoples in the world,
especially our Christian sisters and brothers. We hope also that it will be
welcomed positively and will receive strong support, as was the South Africa
Kairos document launched in 1985, which, at that time proved to be a tool in the
struggle against oppression and occupation. We believe that liberation from
occupation is in the interest of all peoples in the region because the problem
is not just a political one, but one in which human beings are destroyed.
We pray God to inspire us all, particularly our leaders and
policy-makers, to find the way of justice and equality, and to realize that it
is the only way that leads to the genuine peace we are seeking.
His Beatitude Patriarch
Grace Bishop Dr. Munib Younan
Eminence Archbishop Atallah Hanna
Mr. Nidal Abu El Zuluf
Mr. Yusef Daher
Mr. Rifat Kassis - Coordinator
Note: You can review the list of Palestinian Christian institutions and
personalities signed the document and copies in other languages on the following
We hear the cry
of our children
We, the Patriarchs
and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, hear the cry of hope that our children have
launched in these difficult times that we still experience in this Holy Land. We
support them and stand by them in their faith, their hope, their love and their
vision for the future. We also support the call to all our faithful as well as
to the Israeli and Palestinian Leaders, to the International Community and to
the World Churches, in order to accelerate the achievement of justice, peace and
reconciliation in this Holy Land. We ask God to bless all our children by giving
them more power in order to contribute effectively in establishing and
developing their community, while making it a community in love, trust, justice
Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox
Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Church
Patriarch Torkom Manougian, Armenian Orthodox
Very Revd Father
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custody of the Holy Land
H.E. Archbishop Dr
Anba Abraham, Coptic
Mar Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox
Paul Nabil Sayah, Maronite
Abba Mathaious, Ethiopian
Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek Catholic
Peter Malki, Syrian Catholic
Bishop Munib A.
Minassian, Armenian Catholic
December 15, 2009
moment of truth
word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering
group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of
opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli
occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer
and faith in a God ever vigilant, in God’s divine providence for all the
inhabitants of this land. Inspired by the mystery of God's love for all, the
mystery of God’s divine presence in the history of all peoples and, in a
particular way, in the history of our country, we proclaim our word based on our
Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope
Because today we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian
people. The decision-makers content themselves with managing the crisis rather
than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it.
The hearts of the faithful are filled with pain and with questioning: What is
the international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine,
in Israel and in the Arab world doing? What is the Church doing? The problem is
not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed,
and this must be of concern to the Church.
address ourselves to our brothers and sisters, members of our Churches in this
land. We call out as Christians and as Palestinians to our religious and
political leaders, to our Palestinian society and to the Israeli society, to the
international community, and to our Christian brothers and sisters in the
Churches around the world.
reality on the ground
say: 'Peace, peace' when there is no peace”
(Jer. 6:14). These days, everyone is speaking about peace in the Middle East and
the peace process. So far, however, these are simply words; the reality is one
of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, deprivation of our freedom and
all that results from this situation:
separation wall erected on Palestinian territory, a large part of which has been
confiscated for this purpose, has turned our towns and villages into prisons,
separating them from one another, making them dispersed and divided cantons.
Gaza, especially after the cruel war Israel launched against it during December
2008 and January 2009, continues to live in inhuman conditions, under permanent
blockade and cut off from the other Palestinian territories.
Israeli settlements ravage our land in the name of God and in the name of force,
controlling our natural resources, including water and agricultural land, thus
depriving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and constituting an obstacle to
any political solution.
Reality is the daily humiliation to which we are subjected at the military
checkpoints, as we make our way to jobs, schools or hospitals.
Reality is the separation between members of the same family, making family life
impossible for thousands of Palestinians, especially where one of the spouses
does not have an Israeli identity card.
Religious liberty is severely restricted; the freedom of access to the holy
places is denied under the pretext of security. Jerusalem and its holy places
are out of bounds for many Christians and Muslims from the West Bank and the
Gaza strip. Even Jerusalemites face restrictions during the religious feasts.
Some of our Arab clergy are regularly barred from entering Jerusalem.
Refugees are also part of our reality. Most of them are still living in camps
under difficult circumstances. They have been waiting for their right of return,
generation after generation. What will be their fate?
the prisoners? The thousands of prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons are
part of our reality. The Israelis move heaven and earth to gain the release of
one prisoner, and those thousands of Palestinian prisoners, when will they have
Jerusalem is the heart of our reality. It is, at the same time, symbol of peace
and sign of conflict. While the separation wall divides Palestinian
neighbourhoods, Jerusalem continues to be emptied of its Palestinian citizens,
Christians and Muslims. Their identity cards are confiscated, which means the
loss of their right to reside in Jerusalem. Their homes are demolished or
expropriated. Jerusalem, city of reconciliation, has become a city of
discrimination and exclusion, a source of struggle rather than peace.
part of this reality is the Israeli disregard of international law and
international resolutions, as well as the paralysis of the Arab world and the
international community in the face of this contempt. Human rights are violated
and despite the various reports of local and international human rights'
organizations, the injustice continues.
Palestinians within the State of Israel, who have also suffered a historical
injustice, although they are citizens and have the rights and obligations of
citizenship, still suffer from discriminatory policies. They too are waiting to
enjoy full rights and equality like all other citizens in the state.
Emigration is another element in our reality. The absence of any vision or spark
of hope for peace and freedom pushes young people, both Muslim and Christian, to
emigrate. Thus the land is deprived of its most important and richest resource –
educated youth. The shrinking number of Christians, particularly in Palestine,
is one of the dangerous consequences, both of this conflict, and of the local
and international paralysis and failure to find a comprehensive solution to the
the face of this reality, Israel justifies its actions as self-defence,
including occupation, collective punishment and all other forms of reprisals
against the Palestinians. In our opinion, this vision is a reversal of reality.
Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were
no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity. This is
our understanding of the situation. Therefore, we call on the Israelis to end
the occupation. Then they will see a new world in which there is no fear, no
threat but rather security, justice and peace.
The Palestinian response to this reality was diverse. Some responded through
negotiations: that was the official position of the Palestinian Authority, but
it did not advance the peace process. Some political parties followed the way of
armed resistance. Israel used this as a pretext to accuse the Palestinians of
being terrorists and was able to distort the real nature of the conflict,
presenting it as an Israeli war against terror, rather than an Israeli
occupation faced by Palestinian
resistance aiming at ending it.
The tragedy worsened with the internal conflict among Palestinians themselves,
and with the separation of Gaza from the rest of the Palestinian territory. It
is noteworthy that, even though the division is among Palestinians themselves,
the international community bears an important responsibility for it since it
refused to deal positively with the will of the Palestinian people expressed in
the outcome of democratic and legal elections in 2006.
Again, we repeat and proclaim that our Christian word in the midst of all this,
in the midst of our catastrophe, is a word of faith, hope and love.
word of faith
believe in one God, a good and just God
believe in God, one God, Creator of the universe and of humanity. We believe in
a good and just God, who loves each one of his creatures. We believe that every
human being is created in God’s image and likeness and that every one's dignity
is derived from the dignity of the Almighty One. We believe that this dignity is
one and the same in each and all of us. This means for us, here and now, in this
land in particular, that God created us not so that we might engage in strife
and conflict but rather that we might come and know and love one another, and
together build up the land in love and mutual respect.
also believe in God's eternal Word, His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, whom
God sent as the Saviour of the world.
believe in the Holy Spirit, who accompanies the Church and all humanity on its
journey. It is the Spirit that helps us to understand Holy Scripture, both Old
and New Testaments, showing their unity, here and now. The Spirit makes manifest
the revelation of God to humanity, past, present and future.
How do we understand the word of God?
believe that God has spoken to humanity, here in our country: "Long ago God
spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these
last days God has spoken to us by a Son, whom God appointed heir of
all things, through whom he also created the worlds" (Heb. 1:1-2)
Christian Palestinians, believe, like all Christians throughout the world, that
Jesus Christ came in order to fulfil the Law and the Prophets. He is the Alpha
and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and in his light and with the guidance
of the Holy Spirit, we read the Holy Scriptures. We meditate upon and interpret
Scripture just as Jesus Christ did with the two disciples on their way to
Emmaus. As it is written in the Gospel according to Saint Luke: "Then
beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things
about himself in all the scriptures" (Lk 24:27)
Lord Jesus Christ came, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God was near. He
provoked a revolution in the life and faith of all humanity. He came with "a
new teaching" (Mk 1:27), casting a new light on the Old Testament, on the
themes that relate to our Christian faith and our daily lives, themes such as
the promises, the election, the people of God and the land. We believe that the
Word of God is a living Word, casting a particular light on each period of
history, manifesting to Christian believers what God is saying to us here and
now. For this reason, it is unacceptable to transform the Word of God into
letters of stone that pervert the love of God and His providence in the life of
both peoples and individuals. This is precisely the error in fundamentalist
Biblical interpretation that brings us death and destruction when the word of
God is petrified and transmitted from generation to generation as a dead letter.
This dead letter is used as a weapon in our present history in order to deprive
us of our rights in our own land.
Our land has a universal mission
believe that our land has a universal mission. In this universality, the meaning
of the promises, of the land, of the election, of the people of God open up to
include all of humanity, starting from all the peoples of this land. In light of
the teachings of the Holy Bible, the promise of the land has never been a
political programme, but rather the prelude to complete universal salvation. It
was the initiation of the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
sent the patriarchs, the prophets and the apostles to this land so that they
might carry forth a universal mission to the world. Today we constitute three
religions in this land, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Our land is God’s land,
as is the case with all countries in the world. It is holy inasmuch as God is
present in it, for God alone is holy and sanctifier. It is the duty of those of
us who live here, to respect the will of God for this land. It is our duty to
liberate it from the evil of injustice and war. It is God's land and therefore
it must be a land of reconciliation, peace and love. This is indeed possible.
God has put us here as two peoples, and God gives us the capacity, if we have
the will, to live together and establish in it justice and peace, making it in
reality God's land: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the
world, and those who live in it" (Ps. 24:1).
presence in this land, as Christian and Muslim Palestinians, is not accidental
but rather deeply rooted in the history and geography of this land, resonant
with the connectedness of any other people to the land it lives in. It was an
injustice when we were driven out. The West sought to make amends for what Jews
had endured in the countries of Europe, but it made amends on our account and in
our land. They tried to correct an injustice and the result was a new injustice.
Furthermore, we know that certain theologians in the West try to attach a
biblical and theological legitimacy to the infringement of our rights. Thus, the
promises, according to their interpretation, have become a menace to our very
existence. The "good news" in the Gospel itself has become "a harbinger of
death" for us. We call on these theologians to deepen their reflection on the
Word of God and to rectify their interpretations so that they might see in the
Word of God a source of life for all peoples.
connectedness to this land is a natural right. It is not an ideological or a
theological question only. It is a matter of life and death. There are those who
do not agree with us, even defining us as enemies only because we declare that
we want to live as free people in our land. We suffer from the occupation of our
land because we are Palestinians. And as Christian Palestinians we suffer from
the wrong interpretation of some theologians. Faced with this, our task is to
safeguard the Word of God as a source of life and not of death, so that "the
good news" remains what it is, "good news" for us and for all. In face of those
who use the Bible to threaten our existence as Christian and Muslim
Palestinians, we renew our faith in God because we know that the word of God can
not be the source of our destruction.
Therefore, we declare that any use of the Bible to legitimize or support
political options and positions that are based upon injustice, imposed by one
person on another, or by one people on another, transform religion into human
ideology and strip the Word of God of its holiness, its universality and truth.
also declare that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against
God and humanity because it deprives the Palestinians of their basic human
rights, bestowed by God. It distorts the image of God in the Israeli who has
become an occupier just as it distorts this image in the Palestinian living
under occupation. We declare that any theology, seemingly based on the Bible or
on faith or on history, that legitimizes the occupation, is far from Christian
teachings, because it calls for violence and holy war in the name of God
Almighty, subordinating God to temporary human interests, and distorting the
divine image in the human beings living under both political and theological
Despite the lack of even a glimmer of positive expectation, our hope remains
strong. The present situation does not promise any quick solution or the end of
the occupation that is imposed on us. Yes, the initiatives, the conferences,
visits and negotiations have multiplied, but they have not been followed up by
any change in our situation and suffering. Even the new US position that has
been announced by President Obama, with a manifest desire to put an end to the
tragedy, has not been able to make a change in our reality. The clear Israeli
response, refusing any solution, leaves no room for positive expectation.
Despite this, our hope remains strong, because it is from God. God alone is
good, almighty and loving and His goodness will one day be victorious over the
evil in which we find ourselves. As Saint Paul said: "If God is for us, who
is against us? (…) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship,
or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it
is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long" (…) For I am
convinced that (nothing) in all creation, will be able to separate us from the
love of God" (Rom. 8:31, 35, 36, 39).
What is the meaning of hope?
within us means first and foremost our faith in God and secondly our
expectation, despite everything, for a better future. Thirdly, it means not
chasing after illusions – we realize that release is not close at hand. Hope is
the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble, and to be co-workers with the
Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us. From this vision derives the strength to be
steadfast, remain firm and work to change the reality in which we find
ourselves. Hope means not giving in to evil but rather standing up to it and
continuing to resist it. We see nothing in the present or future except ruin and
destruction. We see the upper hand of the strong, the growing orientation
towards racist separation and the imposition of laws that deny our existence and
our dignity. We see confusion and division in the Palestinian position. If,
despite all this, we do resist this reality today and work hard, perhaps the
destruction that looms on the horizon may not come upon us.
Signs of hope
Church in our land, her leaders and her faithful, despite her weakness and her
divisions, does show certain signs of hope. Our parish communities are vibrant
and most of our young people are active apostles for justice and peace. In
addition to the individual commitment, our various Church institutions make our
faith active and present in service, love and prayer.
the signs of hope are the local centres of theology, with a religious and social
character. They are numerous in our different Churches. The ecumenical spirit,
even if still hesitant, shows itself more and more in the meetings of our
different Church families.
can add to this the numerous meetings for inter-religious dialogue,
Christian–Muslim dialogue, which includes the religious leaders and a part of
the people. Admittedly, dialogue is a long process and is perfected through a
daily effort as we undergo the same sufferings and have the same expectations.
There is also dialogue among the three religions, Judaism, Christianity and
Islam, as well as different dialogue meetings on the academic or social level.
They all try to breach the walls imposed by the occupation and oppose the
distorted perception of human beings in the heart of their brothers or sisters.
of the most important signs of hope is the steadfastness of the generations, the
belief in the justice of their cause and the continuity of memory, which does
not forget the "Nakba" (catastrophe) and its significance. Likewise significant
is the developing awareness among many Churches throughout the world and their
desire to know the truth about what is going on here.
addition to that, we see a determination among many to overcome the resentments
of the past and to be ready for reconciliation once justice has been restored.
Public awareness of the need to restore political rights to the Palestinians is
increasing, and Jewish and Israeli voices, advocating peace and justice, are
raised in support of this with the approval of the international community.
True, these forces for justice and reconciliation have not yet been able to
transform the situation of injustice, but they have their influence and may
shorten the time of suffering and hasten the time of reconciliation.
The mission of the Church
Church is a Church of people who pray and serve.
prayer and service is prophetic, bearing the voice of God in the present and
future. Everything that happens in our land, everyone who lives there, all the
pains and hopes, all the injustice and all the efforts to stop this injustice,
are part and parcel of the prayer of our Church and the service of all her
institutions. Thanks be to God that our Church raises her voice against
injustice despite the fact that some desire her to remain silent, closed in her
mission of the Church is prophetic, to speak the Word of God courageously,
honestly and lovingly in the local context and in the midst of daily events. If
she does take sides, it is with the oppressed, to stand alongside them, just as
Christ our Lord stood by the side of each poor person and each sinner, calling
them to repentance, life, and the restoration of the dignity bestowed on them by
God and that no one has the right to strip away.
mission of the Church is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice,
peace and dignity. Our vocation as a living Church is to bear witness to the
goodness of God and the dignity of human beings. We are called to pray and to
make our voice heard when we announce a new society where human beings believe
in their own dignity and the dignity of their adversaries.
Church points to the Kingdom, which cannot be tied to any earthly kingdom. Jesus
said before Pilate that he was indeed a king but "my kingdom is not from this
world" (Jn 18:36). Saint Paul says: "The Kingdom of God is not food and
drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom.14:17).
Therefore, religion cannot favour or support any unjust political regime, but
must rather promote justice, truth and human dignity. It must exert every effort
to purify regimes where human beings suffer injustice and human dignity is
violated. The Kingdom of God on earth is not dependent on any political
orientation, for it is greater and more inclusive than any particular political
Christ said: "The Kingdom of God is among you" (Luke 17:21). This Kingdom
that is present among us and in us is the extension of the mystery of salvation.
It is the presence of God among us and our sense of that presence in everything
we do and say. It is in this divine presence that we shall do what we can until
justice is achieved in this land.
cruel circumstances in which the Palestinian Church has lived and continues to
live have required the Church to clarify her faith and to identify her vocation
better. We have studied our vocation and have come to know it better in the
midst of suffering and pain: today, we bear the strength of love rather than
that of revenge, a culture of life rather than a culture of death. This is a
source of hope for us, for the Church and for the world.
Resurrection is the source of our hope
as Christ rose in victory over death and evil, so too we are able, as each
inhabitant of this land is able, to vanquish the evil of war. We will remain a
witnessing, steadfast and active Church in the land of the Resurrection.
The commandment of love
Christ our Lord said: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one
another" (Jn 13:34). He has already showed us how to love and how to treat
our enemies. He said: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your
neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for
those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven;
for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the
righteous and on the unrighteous (…) Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly
Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:45-47).
Paul also said: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil" (Rom. 12:17). And
Saint Peter said: "Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but on the
contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called" (1
word is clear. Love is the commandment of Christ our Lord to us and it includes
both friends and enemies. This must be clear when we find ourselves in
circumstances where we must resist evil of whatever kind.
is seeing the face of God in every human being. Every person is my brother or my
sister. However, seeing the face of God in everyone does not mean accepting evil
or aggression on their part. Rather, this love seeks to correct the evil and
stop the aggression.
against the Palestinian people which is the Israeli occupation, is an evil that
must be resisted.
It is an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed. Primary
responsibility for this rests with the Palestinians themselves suffering
occupation. Christian love invites us to resist
However, love puts an end to evil
walking in the ways of justice.
Responsibility lies also with the international community, because international
law regulates relations between peoples today. Finally responsibility lies with
the perpetrators of the injustice; they must liberate themselves from the evil
that is in them and the injustice they have imposed on others.
we review the history of the nations, we see many wars and much resistance to
war by war, to violence by violence. The Palestinian person has gone the way of
the peoples, particularly in the first stages of its struggle with the Israeli
occupation. However, it also engaged in peaceful struggle, especially during the
first Intifada. We recognize that all peoples must find a new way in their
relations with each other and the resolution of their conflicts. The ways of
force must give way to the ways of justice. This applies above all to the
peoples that are militarily strong, mighty enough to impose their injustice on
say that our option as Christians in the face of the Israeli occupation is to
resist. Resistance is a right and a duty for the Christian. But it is resistance
with love as its logic. It is thus a creative resistance for it must find human
ways that engage the humanity of the enemy. Seeing the image of God in the face
of the enemy means taking up positions in the light of this vision of active
resistance to stop the injustice and oblige the perpetrator to end his
aggression and thus achieve the desired goal, which is getting back the land,
freedom, dignity and independence.
Christ our Lord has left us an example we must imitate. We must resist evil but
he taught us that we cannot resist evil with evil. This is a difficult
commandment, particularly when the enemy is determined to impose himself and
deny our right to remain here in our land. It is a difficult commandment yet it
alone can stand firm in the face of the clear declarations of the occupation
authorities that refuse our existence and the many excuses these authorities use
to continue imposing occupation upon us.
Resistance to the evil of occupation is integrated, then, within this Christian
love that refuses evil and corrects it. It resists evil in all its forms with
methods that enter into the logic of love and draw on all energies to make
peace. We can resist through civil disobedience. We do not resist with death but
rather through respect of life.
We respect and have a high esteem for all those who have given their life for
our nation. And we affirm that every citizen must be ready to defend his or her
life, freedom and land.
Palestinian civil organizations, as well as international organizations, NGOs
and certain religious institutions call on individuals, companies and states to
engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything
produced by the occupation. We understand this to integrate the logic of
peaceful resistance. These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage,
openly sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put
an end to the existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of
injustice. The aim is to free both peoples from extremist positions of the
different Israeli governments, bringing both to justice and reconciliation. In
this spirit and with this dedication we will eventually reach the longed-for
resolution to our problems, as indeed happened in South Africa and with many
other liberation movements in the world.
Through our love, we will overcome injustices and establish foundations for a
new society both for us and for our opponents. Our future and their future are
one. Either the cycle of violence that destroys both of us or peace that will
benefit both. We call on Israel to give up its injustice towards us, not to
twist the truth of reality of the occupation by pretending that it is a battle
against terrorism. The roots of "terrorism" are in the human injustice committed
and in the evil of the occupation. These must be removed if there be a sincere
intention to remove "terrorism". We call on the people of Israel to be our
partners in peace and not in the cycle of interminable violence. Let us resist
evil together, the evil of occupation and the infernal cycle of violence.
Our word to our brothers and sisters
all face, today, a way that is blocked and a future that promises only woe. Our
word to all our Christian brothers and sisters is a word of hope, patience,
steadfastness and new action for a better future. Our word is that we, as
Christians we carry a message, and we will continue to carry it despite the
thorns, despite blood and daily difficulties. We place our hope in God, who will
grant us relief in His own time. At the same time, we continue to act in concord
with God and God’s will, building, resisting evil and bringing closer the day of
justice and peace.
say to our Christian brothers and sisters: This is a time for repentance.
Repentance brings us back into the communion of love with everyone who suffers,
the prisoners, the wounded, those afflicted with temporary or permanent
handicaps, the children who cannot live their childhood and each one who mourns
a dear one. The communion of love says to every believer in spirit and in truth:
if my brother is a prisoner I am a prisoner; if his home is destroyed, my home
is destroyed; when my brother is killed, then I too am killed. We face the same
challenges and share in all that has happened and will happen. Perhaps, as
individuals or as heads of Churches, we were silent when we should have raised
our voices to condemn the injustice and share in the suffering. This is a time
of repentance for our silence, indifference, lack of communion, either because
we did not persevere in our mission in this land and abandoned it, or because we
did not think and do enough to reach a new and integrated vision and remained
divided, contradicting our witness and weakening our word. Repentance for our
concern with our institutions, sometimes at the expense of our mission, thus
silencing the prophetic voice given by the Spirit to the Churches.
call on Christians to remain steadfast in this time of trial, just as we have
throughout the centuries, through the changing succession of states and
governments. Be patient, steadfast and full of hope so that you might fill the
heart of every one of your brothers or sisters who shares in this same trial
with hope. "Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from
you an accounting for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15). Be active and,
provided this conforms to love, participate in any sacrifice that resistance
asks of you to overcome our present travail..
numbers are few but our message is great and important. Our land is in urgent
need of love. Our love is a message to the Muslim and to the Jew, as well as to
message to the Muslims is a message of love and of living together and a call to
reject fanaticism and extremism. It is also a message to the world that Muslims
are neither to be stereotyped as the enemy nor caricatured as terrorists but
rather to be lived with in peace and engaged with in dialogue.
message to the Jews tells them: Even though we have fought one another in the
recent past and still struggle today, we are able to love and live together. We
can organize our political life, with all its complexity, according to the logic
of this love and its power, after ending the occupation and establishing justice.
word of faith says to anyone engaged in political activity: human beings were
not made for hatred. It is not permitted to hate, neither is it permitted to
kill or to be killed. The culture of love is the culture of accepting the other.
Through it we perfect ourselves and the foundations of society are established.
Our word to the Churches of the world
word to the Churches of the world is firstly a word of gratitude for the
solidarity you have shown toward us in word, deed and presence among us. It is a
word of praise for the many Churches and Christians who support the right of the
Palestinian people for self determination. It is a message of solidarity with
those Christians and Churches who have suffered because of their advocacy for
law and justice.
However, it is also a call to repentance; to revisit fundamentalist theological
positions that support certain unjust political options with regard to the
Palestinian people. It is a call to stand alongside the oppressed and preserve
the word of God as good news for all rather than to turn it into a weapon with
which to slay the oppressed. The word of God is a word of love for all His
creation. God is not the ally of one against the other, nor the opponent of one
in the face of the other. God is the Lord of all and loves all, demanding
justice from all and issuing to all of us the same commandments. We ask our
sister Churches not to offer a theological cover-up for the injustice we suffer,
for the sin of the occupation imposed upon us. Our question to our brothers and
sisters in the Churches today is: Are you able to help us get our freedom back,
for this is the only way you can help the two peoples attain justice, peace,
security and love?
order to understand our reality, we say to the Churches: Come and see. We will
fulfil our role to make known to you the truth of our reality, receiving you as
pilgrims coming to us to pray, carrying a message of peace, love and
reconciliation. You will know the facts and the people of this land,
Palestinians and Israelis alike.
condemn all forms of racism, whether religious or ethnic, including
anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and we call on you to condemn it and oppose it
in all its manifestations. At the same time we call on you to say a word of
truth and to take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of
Palestinian land. As we have already said, we see boycott and disinvestment as
tools of non violence for justice, peace and security for
Our word to the international community
Our word to the international community is to stop the principle of "double
standards" and insist on the international resolutions regarding the Palestinian
problem with regard to all parties. Selective application of international law
threatens to leave us vulnerable to a law of the jungle. It legitimizes the
claims by certain armed groups and states that the international community only
understands the logic of force. Therefore, we call for a response to what the
civil and religious institutions have proposed, as mentioned earlier: the
beginning of a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against
Israel. We repeat once again that this is not revenge but rather a serious
action in order to reach a just and definitive peace that will put an end to
Israeli occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories and will guarantee
security and peace for all.
Jewish and Muslim religious leaders
Finally, we address an appeal to the religious and spiritual leaders, Jewish and
Muslim, with whom we share the same vision that every human being is created by
God and has been given equal dignity. Hence the obligation for each of us to
defend the oppressed and the dignity God has bestowed on them. Let us together
try to rise up above the political positions that have failed so far and
continue to lead us on the path of failure and suffering.
9. A call to our Palestinian
people and to the Israelis
This is a call to see the face of God in each one of God’s creatures and
overcome the barriers of fear or race in order to establish a constructive
dialogue and not remain within the cycle of never-ending manoeuvres that aim to
keep the situation as it is. Our appeal is to reach a common vision, built on
equality and sharing, not on superiority, negation of the other or aggression,
using the pretext of fear and security. We say that love is possible and mutual
trust is possible. Thus, peace is possible and definitive reconciliation also.
Thus, justice and security will be attained for all.
Education is important. Educational programs must help us to get to know the
other as he or she is rather than through the prism of conflict, hostility or
religious fanaticism. The educational programs in place today are infected with
this hostility. The time has come to begin a new education that allows one to
see the face of God in the other and declares that we are capable of loving each
other and building our future together in peace and security.
Trying to make the state a religious state, Jewish or Islamic, suffocates the
state, confines it within narrow limits, and transforms it into a state that
practices discrimination and exclusion, preferring one citizen over another. We
appeal to both religious Jews and Muslims: let the state be a state for all its
citizens, with a vision constructed on respect for religion but also equality,
justice, liberty and respect for pluralism and not on domination by a religion
or a numerical majority.
To the leaders of Palestine we say that current divisions weaken all of us and
cause more sufferings. Nothing can justify these divisions. For the good of the
people, which must outweigh that of the political parties, an end must be put to
division. We appeal to the international community to lend its support towards
this union and to respect the will of the Palestinian people as expressed
Jerusalem is the foundation of our vision and our entire life. She is the city
to which God gave a particular importance in the history of humanity. She is the
city towards which all people are in movement – and where they will meet in
friendship and love in the presence of the One Unique God, according to the
vision of the prophet Isaiah: "In
days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the
highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations
shall stream to it (…) He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate
for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their
spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more"
(Is. 2: 2-5). Today, the city is inhabited by two peoples of three religions;
and it is on this prophetic vision and on the international resolutions
concerning the totality of Jerusalem that any political solution must be based.
This is the first issue that should be negotiated because the recognition of
Jerusalem's sanctity and its message will be a source of inspiration towards
finding a solution to the entire problem, which is largely a problem of mutual
trust and ability to set in place a new land in this land of God.
10. Hope and faith in God
In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope. We believe in God, good
and just. We believe that God’s
goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still
persist in our land. We will see here "a new land" and "a new human being",
capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and