Jerusalem must be shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, the local heads of churches reiterated in an October statement.
Jerusalem must be shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, the local heads of churches reiterated in an October statement. In the statement, they laid out what this status must look like for a lasting peace:
a- The human right of freedom of worship and of conscience for all, both as individuals and as religious communities. (cf. Memorandum 1994).
b- Equality of all her inhabitants before the law, in coordination with the international resolutions.
c- Free access to Jerusalem for all, citizens, residents or pilgrims, at all times, whether in peace or in war. Therefore Jerusalem should be an open city.
d- The rights of property ownership, custody and worship which the different Churches have acquired throughout history should continue to be retained by the same communities. These rights which are already protected in the Status Quo of the Holy Places according to historical "firmans" and other documents, should continue to be recognized and respected – (cf Memorandum 1994).
e- The various Christian Holy Places in the city, wherever they are, must remain united in geography, whatever the solution envisaged.
The statement came during a week when Jerusalem was largely shut down to Palestinian movement -both Christian and Muslim – due to the Jewish feast of Sukkot and the simultaneous Feast of Tabernacles sponsored by the International Christian Embassy here that draws Christian Zionists here for their support of Israel. Although by law and previous agreement, Jerusalem is supposed to be open to all to access their holy sites, younger male Muslims are routinely kept out of the Old City during Ramadan, especially on Fridays, their most holy day of the week. Each week during Ramadan, checkpoints into Jerusalem let fewer and fewer male Muslims into Jerusalem, putting many in the hospital from beatings, tear gas and sound grenades. Picture here is the last Friday of Ramadan at the Bethlehem checkpoint, where these men denied access to Jerusalem had their prayers at the main gate into Bethlehem.