Jerusalem: church leaders appeal for removal of Separation Wall

 The Christian leaders of Jerusalem issued the following letter last night, repeating their calls for peace and calling for a stop to the construction of the Separation Wall. We the leaders of the churches in Jerusalem affirm our determination to do all in our power to work for peace in this Holy Land - a peace that is concerned with the well being of every resident - be they Israeli or Palestinian. To give them security, justice, freedom, independence and personal dignity. Let no one doubt our abhorrence of violence whoever the perpetrator. Peace will only be established when violence is eradicated from both sides. If the present Road Map for Peace is to bring positive results we believe the Separation Wall constitutes a grave obstacle. To both nations the wall will result in a feeling of isolation. Moreover, for many Palestinians it means the deprivation of land (some 10 % more than that of the Occupation in 1967), livelihood, statehood and family life. Occupation remains the root cause of the conflict and of the continuing suffering in the Holy Land. Regarding the proposed Separation Wall around Bethlehem - for us Christians the birthplace of Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace: the consequences will be devastating for the Christian Community. The psychological impact on daily life will be very great..The community will be isolated following the deprivation of access to land and freedom of movement. Visits of pilgrims will be further discouraged. We appeal to both authorities - Israeli and Palestinian - and to all peace loving people around the world (who we appeal to make urgent contact with their leaders both political and religious) in an effort to remove this impediment to a comprehensive and lasting peace. signed by The Latin Patriarch Michal Sabah; Armenian Patriarch Torkom II; Fr Giovanni Battletelli OFM, Custous of the Holy Land; Anba Abragham, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem; Querious Malki Marail, the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop; Abba Costos, the Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop; Archbishop Riah, Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem; Bishop Muhibal Tonan from the Lutheran Evangelical Church; Archimedrite Macarious Maddad, the Greek Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem and Butros Malki, the Syrian Catholic Bishop of Jerusalem.

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