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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Bethlehem: clergy issue all faith peace declaration
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 Representatives of all faiths in the Holy Land have issued the following statement: We, Jewish, Christian, Druze and Muslim religious leaders cry out in the name of our One God, to recognize one another, children of Abraham, as created in God's image. The forces of demonization and hate have taken hold not only in the Middle East but throughout the globe, and we must look into our religious traditions and speak out in the name of compassion and justice. Our task as religious leaders is to engage our own people in self reflection and point the way to a better future for our children and ourselves. We, therefore, out of our respective religious traditions: * Condemn all acts of violence and human rights violations, seeing as they contradict God's will for humanity. The suffering of Israelis and Palestinians must stop. An attack against any human being is an attack against God. * Call upon Israelis and Palestinians to recognize each other's humanity, deep roots in this land and suffering. We must find the courage to break the cycle of violence and human rights violations. Each act of violence being committed by either side elicits further violence. * Call for energizing the vision of peace through negotiations, based on international legitimacy and respect for international law and the shared ethics of our religious traditions, thus fulfilling the national aspirations of two peoples and ensuring the human right to live free from occupation and fear. * Draw from the wisdom of our faiths to accept the particularity of each of our traditions while respecting one's right to be different. Our Houses of worship must remain open and unharmed. Any desecration of our sanctuaries is a desecration of God's presence in this world. Even more important than those sanctuaries built of stone are the sanctuaries which God has implanted within each and every human being. * Agree to act as a living bridge between despair and hope and re-ignite the peace process, acting as mediators where possible and as agents of faith and instruments of love where it seems impossible. We will collectively and individually employ all of our influence in every conceivable way to realize a vision which goes beyond the cessation of hostilities and looks forward to the day when our peoples will be a mutual blessing to each other. We will meet among ourselves and engage our peoples and leaders. In the name of God Who is compassionate and just, in the Name of God Who hears the cries of all those who suffer, in the name of God Who demands that we pursue justice through just means and seek peace by actively pursuing it, we call on the peoples and leaders of the Middle East and the world to act at once. Arab Educational Institute (AEI) AEI is a community education institute working in the Bethlehem-Hebron area of Palestine. It is affiliated to Pax Christi International and to the Euro-Arab Dialogue from Below (IKV, The Netherlands)
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