“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Latin patriarch leads 2,000 in protest at Bethlehem checkpoint

Some 2,000 people, including several hundred foreign demonstrators and led by a senior Christian cleric, marched to an Israeli checkpoint in Bethlehem Monday to protest at the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territories.

Some 2,000 people, including several hundred foreign demonstrators and led by a senior Christian cleric, marched to an Israeli checkpoint in Bethlehem Monday to protest at the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territories.

The protest, part of a coordinated effort by Palestinians and hundreds of foreign activists wanting to show their solidarity with them, were led by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah. “We are here to tell Israelis and Palestinians that we want to continue life and that Israel has to recognise the Palestinian people’s right to live in peace and security,” Sabbah told the crowd.

The army reinforced the checkpoint, blocking access to the protestors who were supposed to march to Jerusalem and join thousands of others in forming a human chain around the Old City in occupied and annexed east Jerusalem, in a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinians.

Hundreds of international activists, accusing their governments of failing to do enough to protect the Palestinian people from Israel, have been protesting across the territories for the past two weeks. Their demonstrations have often been dispersed by Israeli soldiers using tear gas and warning shots.

Wednesday, 02 January 2002

Speech of the H.B. Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
During the Peace and Justice March of 31 December 2001
From Bethlehem to Jerusalem

On this last day of the year, we, Israelis and Palestinians, Moslems, Jews and Christians, and internationals from all over the world, in solidarity with both peoples of this land, wanted to be united in this walk for peace, in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, to end this past year of death and hatred with a sign and a symbol of hope, and to invite our political leaders, to start seriously a new year of justice and peace.

Today we affirm that Palestinians and Israelis want peace and do not want more killing or more humiliations or more insecurity.

The motto of our walk is double: end the occupation and open Jerusalem. End the occupation, because the core of the conflict is this: Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands started in 1967. Give back the Palestinians their land and their freedom.  With this you will give the Israeli people his security.

Open Jerusalem: Jerusalem the holy city for all believers of the three monotheistic religions must always be open. Free Jerusalem from its security bonds and ties and allow God to be seen in His city by all. No security reasons should close it. Give back to Jerusalem its true face and identity, the city of God, and of all God’s children.

All of us here present, we say that peace with justice is possible. Peace is in your hands, leaders of Israel, whom we bear in our prayers and whom we call to “hammer their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles. – So that – nation will not lift sword against nation, no longer will they learn how to make war” (Is 2:4), as foretold Prophet Isaiah for you and for all humanity. We call upon you to become peacemakers. All violence, all fear, the whole conflict, will come to an end, if you put an end to the occupation which started in 1967.

With our brothers Moslems and Jews, and with our faithful, and with all our brothers and sisters, internationals, here we are today, Christian leaders of all the Churches of the Holy Land, Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants: because we too, in Bethlehem, ” we hear lamenting and weeping bitterly” as said Prophet Jeremiah (Mt 2,18). We hear the children of Palestine and of Israel today in their fear, calling for justice and for security.

We are here today, because wherever there are people who are oppressed there is our place; wherever there are children still shivering from fear because of their experience of war there is our place; where there is no bread there is our place; where there is no justice, there is our place, to sow justice and love among people. The Palestinian people is oppressed, and the Israeli people is victim of the reaction to this oppression. Human being is being humiliated and killed. The dignity of God is being killed in the dignity of all of his creatures, Jews, Moslems and Christians, Israelis or Palestinians.  Therefore we are here present today in this walk.

Peace means justice to the Palestinians, justice is end of the occupation. And end of the occupation and justice are security for Israelis.

Terror is caused by injustice and oppression and the prolongation of occupation. End the occupation, open Jerusalem, give peace to the land and to the people. Start a new period in the history of this land.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be recognized as children of God” (Mt 5:9). You all here living, Israelis and Palestinians, Moslems, Jews and Christians, do not be afraid to be peacemakers. You all internationals, Churches of the world, international community, do not be afraid to help us, to come to reconciliation in this land of God. Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace on those he loves” (Lk 2:14).

2002-01-02T00:00:00+00:00 January 2nd, 2002|Categories: News|