Apr 12, 2006 / 22:00 pm
The 13 patriarchs and heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem launched in their joint Easter message a powerful appeal for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine and called on the international community not to boycott the Palestinian people by stopping aid, reported AsiaNews.
The Christian churches in the Holy Land—Orthodox, Armenian, Latin Catholic, Copt, Syriac, Anglican and Lutheran—will celebrate Easter on April 16 or 23. Their leaders call on their faithful to see the proximity in dates as a sign of the need for greater solidarity and shared witness of the resurrection of Jesus.
“It seems nowadays that we face an unknown path or impasse in political life (sic) between the new Israeli government and the new Palestinian government,” they said in their message.
The Church leaders reproached the international community for withholding aid from the Palestinian people. “It is not permitted to boycott a people on whom oppressions and injustices were and are imposed, while the international community remained so far paralyzed in putting an end to these oppressions, and therefore this paralysis gave birth to violence, terrorism and the humiliation of the human person [sic],” they said.
“Instead of boycotting, we appeal to the International Community to seize the opportunity of this phase in history of the conflict in order to try seriously to put an end to the suffering,” they said.
In their appeal, Church leaders also addressed the leaders of Israel and Palestine, saying that security, justice and peace are possible if there is a sincere will on their part.
Finally, the Church leaders appeal to Christians around the world who they say share with their leaders “the responsibility of reconciliation in this Holy Land.”
The leaders urged them to put pressure on their respective governments and their national media to help bring about reconciliation and to reflect on the impact the Security Wall that Israel is building is having on the dignity of the people.
The appeal is signed by Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, Roman Catholic Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Torkom I Manooghian, Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Pierbattista Pizziballa, OFM, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Anba Abraham, Syrian-Orthodox Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop Abouna Grima, Maronite Archbishop Paul Sayyah, Anglican Bishop Riah Abu el-Assal, Lutheran Bishop Mounib Younan, Syrian-Catholic Bishop Pierre Malki, Armenian Catholic Rev. Raphael Minassian, and Greek Catholic Archimandrite Mtanios Haddad.