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Jerusalem: church leaders issue statement on Israeli elections

 The Patriarchs and church leaders of Jerusalem have issued the following statement which was written after the elections in Israel. The Israeli citizens voted yesterday for a new Knesset, from whose members a Government is expected to be established within the coming weeks. However, this election does not end the concerns over a possible continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for long time to come. Despite today's publication of the Israeli election results, it is clear to us that the politician who is going to formulate the coming Israeli government will continue to have significant margins of operation, between resuming the Peace Process with the Palestinians and further escalating the relations with them. On this occasion we wish to express our concerns regarding the frequent talks on Israeli intentions to proceed in implementing unilateral measures in the West Bank, while seemingly ignoring the Palestinians and their democratically-elected leadership. We urge the elected Israeli leadership to demonstrate courage and wisdom by resuming the Peace Process with the Palestinians. At the same time, we urge the Palestinian leaders to send a clear message of peace to the Israeli citizens, as well. We are confident that the vast majority of the Israelis and Palestinians are tired of the conflict and eager to live in security, peace and justice. The international community is called to explain to all parties, but especially to the Israeli decision-makers, who are the dominant decision-makers for the time being in the Holy Land, that unilateral measures will probably bring some temporary solutions, but such measures will not end the mutual mistrust and misunderstanding between the two peoples living in this beloved and blessed Land. Our prayers are with all peoples and leaders, especially those who will work for peace and justice in the Holy Land based on International Law and resolutions and not on unilateral dictations or violence. As Christian leaders we are determined to do all we can to promote peace, mutual understanding and justice amongst all, hoping to find a similar determination from the religious leaders of Judaism and Islam. Finally we would express a message of hope and trust in the Almighty that our peoples and Land will enjoy, someday, peace and prosperity, based on respect to all human beings. Jerusalem, March 29, 2006 Patriarch Theophilos III: Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Patriarch Michel Sabbah: Latin Patriarchate. Patriarch Torkom II: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate. Pier Battista Pizzaballa, 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: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land. Pierre Malki, Exarch for the Syrian Catholics - Jerusalem Archimandrite Mtanious Haddad: Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.