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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Gaza crisis: joint statement from Jerusalem church leaders
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 The following statement was issued by church leaders in Jerusalem on Saturday. Jerusalem-Ma'an- "Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance; for truth stumbles in the public square, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene." (Isaiah 59: 14-16) The Israeli violence and aggression of this present moment is without proportion or justification. An Israeli soldier was taken prisoner in combat. A Jewish settler was kidnapped and killed. As a response, Israeli forces destroy three bridges and a power station, causing millions of dollars in damage and leaving up to 750 000 people without electricity or water in Gaza. Moreover, Israeli forces abducted 84 people, among them seven Cabinet Ministers and 21 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. This comes after a week in which 48 Palestinians were killed, including 27 innocent civilians. The horrific statistic includes nine children and a pregnant woman. Today, we Christian heads of the Churches in Jerusalem, say: " Events in our land are against law and reason. It is our duty as religious leaders to keepsaying this to the authorities. It is against law and reason that you remain on and you keep us on the ways of death. "The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was no one to intervene. ( Isaiah 59: 16) We condemn the abduction of the Israeli soldier, the killing of the settler youth, as we condemn the daily abduction and killing of dozens of Palestinians as well as the incarceration of thousands of them in prisons. All human beings, Israelis and Palestinians, have the same dignity and must be treated equally. All violence and aggression against human dignity, whether Israeli or Palestinian must stop. Our suffering, both Israeli and Palestinian, will end when the truth on both sides is recognized. The right of Israel to have security must be recognized. At the same time, there must be recognition that the core of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians arises from the deprivation of freedom to the Palestinian people. We firmly support the fight against terrorism, but we remind equally firmly that this fight begins by eradicating the root cause of all violence, which is the deprivation of the freedom of the Palestinian people. It is against law and reason to keep following the way of death. The moral imperative is clear. Stop all the violence. Stop the killing. Protect the life and dignity of people. Begin negotiations. Break this murderous chain of violence in which we are all ensnared. And listen to God's call, "Depart from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it. " (Psalm 33:15) Things have gone too far. We call on the international community to intervene and insist on a diplomatic solution to this conflict. All authorities must change course, and with unflinching international pressure and presence, must be negotiations in to reach a just and definitive peace. " What does the Lord require of you...To do Justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God."( Micah 6:8) + Patriarch Theophilos III: Greek Orthodox Patriarchate + Patriarch Michel Sabbah: Latin Patriarchate. + Patriarch Torkom II: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate. Pier Battista Pizziballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land + Anba Abraham: Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate. + Swerios Malki Mourad: Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate. + Abune Grima: Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate + Paul Nabil Sayyah: Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate. + Bishop Riah Abu Al-Assal: Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East. + Bishop Mounib Younan: Lutheran Evangelical Church. + Pierre Malki: Exarch for the Syrian Catholics - Jerusalem + George Bakar: Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate Rev Rafael Minassian: Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarcate
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