Message of peace from the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, President of Pax Christi

 Brothers and Sisters Peace upon you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Saviour, and may the love of the Holy Spirit fill your hearts and minds. Amen. We read in the Gospel of Saint Luke about some bloody incidents which took place in the time of Our Lord Jesus, as follows: It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them: Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than others, that this should have happened to them? They were not, I tell you. No, but unless you repent you will all perish as they did (Lk 13:1-3). The lesson is clear: penitence will save from bloodshed. Penitence means to see God and all God's children, it means to imitate God in his love and in justice in all relations between people. In light of this penitence, we see that the present events which we experience invite us to raise our prayers to God, and to ask him to enlighten the minds of those who are responsible for our government in this land, and to give also to us light and strength to know how to choose and make our destiny as we want it to be, in this confused and troubled world, where good is mingled with evil, and in which justice is often lacking in our human society. The painful and bloody events which we are living today, following the provocation of religious feelings in the Harem-Al-Sharif (The Noble Mosque) tells one thing: the Palestinian peoples claim for life and freedom. And they will have life and freedom sooner or later. Because violence cannot be the guide of life in this Holy Land Justice is the only guide and symbol. It is high time every leader in this land understood that. It is not in vain that the situation suddenly exploded like this. Those young and old who are offering their lives are not doing it to attack anyone. They are only defending their holy places, their freedom and their life. Blood today is crying to God for justice and human dignity. The only way of returning to peace is to return to negotiations, to see how to go back to the situation which was prevailing before 1967. The Holy Places must not be touched, and cannot be the subject of any bargaining. To dispose soldiers, military cars and even missiles will not bring tranquillity and order, only justice will. And the way of justice was already open in the peace talks. They must be resumed. Enough bloodshed. The people should be given this right to life and self-determination. The Palestinian State must be born and have stability which allows it to organise its own affairs, external and internal. The Holy City should be the city of reconciliation. Palestinian Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine, as West Jerusalem the capital of Israel. And above all that, it should remain the Holy City, with its holiness protected and respected by its own governors, and by the requirements which its sanctity imposes on the entire international community. We call upon our political leaders Palestinian and Israeli and the International community to continue their search for a just peace. The Palestinian people have suffered so much. Brother and sisters, we call on you to pray and to work for tranquil times for the glory of God in this land which God has blessed. We ask God Almighty to give you light and strength and to give the leaders of this land light and strength to do what is right and what is just. For all we pray, for Palestinians and Israelis, for Christians, Moslems and Jews, may God inspire justice and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of all. Amen. Michael Sabbah Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem President of Pax Christi

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