Fr. Bader said that “the voices of the Churches are clear and explicit in affirming that the Holy Land should enjoy the peace that it aspires to based on justice, and that it is also the duty of every person not to turn a blind eye to any injustice or assault on human dignity.”
The Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan joins all countries and Churches that have raised their voices expressing extreme pain and worry over the violent events and disturbances that have been rocking Jerusalem whether in the Old City, Al Aqsa Mosque squares, or Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The statement indicates that Jerusalem is in the heart of the Churches locally and globally.
CCSM Director Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader condemned the violence and attacks witnessed in the Holy City stressing that it is a violation of Jerusalem’s status and mission in its capacity as a city of peace and brotherhood as well as a home for all believers in the Abrahamic religions without exception, since violence used against the Palestinian people in general and the Jerusalemites in particular is a violation of their dignity and a threat to their right to access their holy sites. Furthermore, the uprooting of the Palestinian residents from their homes is an unacceptable assault and a flagrant violation of basic human rights.
He stressed that the attack on worshippers in places of worship is the most heinous act known to mankind, and this applies to the Israeli last week’s attacks on Christian worshippers, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, who were marking the Glorious Feast of the Resurrection (Easter), and on Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque who were on the threshold of marking Eid Al-Fitr.
Fr. Bader said that “the voices of the Churches are clear and explicit in affirming that the Holy Land should enjoy the peace that it aspires to based on justice, and that it is also the duty of every person not to turn a blind eye to any injustice or assault on human dignity. He highly valued the steadfast Palestinian people, that seeks to bring about their legal and legitimate aspirations to establish their independent state, as well as the assiduous efforts of the Jordanian state under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II, the custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, the city of peace and holiness.
The CCSM referred in its statement to the calls made by Churches worldwide in light of the current painful events. On Sunday, May 9, Pope Francis made a firm call for the need to maintain Jerusalem as a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace. He also called for respecting the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City and that fraternity might prevail. He said, “Violence generates only violence and enough with the clashes.”
For their part, the patriarchs and heads of Churches of Jerusalem–who represent the spiritual leadership of the Churches in Jordan–stressed that the recent developments violate the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and of Jerusalem and that the actions undermining the safety of worshipers and the dignity of the Palestinians who are subject to eviction are unacceptable. They also noted that the special character of Jerusalem, in light of the prevailing status quo, compels all parties to preserve the already sensitive situation in the city since the growing tension, backed mainly by right-wing radical groups, endangers the already fragile reality in and around Jerusalem. They also called upon the international community and all people of good will to intervene in order to put an end to these provocative actions, as well as to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem underlined in its statement the historic, permanent, and explicit position in denouncing any attempt to explicitly reserve the city to one part. It stated that, “This is a city sacred to the three monotheistic religions and, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, it is also a city where the Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims, have the same right to build a future based on freedom, equality and peace. The statement called for an utter respect for the historic status quo of all Holy Places, including Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem stressed the exclusive right of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque, noting that any attack on the holy sites would snowball into dire obstacles. It also referred to the unjustified actions of the occupation authorities that led to disturbing the atmosphere of the Feast of the Resurrection celebrations and accentuated the right of Sheikh Jarrah’s residents to express their rightful concerns, and to live in their neighborhood with dignity, free from the policy of expulsion and displacement. It also stressed the need to respect the historic and legal status quo for the Holy places and launch international action in the direction of maintaining Jerusalem as a key for peace and love.
The Geneva-based World Council of Churches, that represents 150 churches worldwide, expressed deep distress at the plight of the Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah as well as at the unrest and violence that has ensued. It called for respecting the status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem, and stressed that the appropriate response should not be through more violence but through solidarity and achieving justice for the Palestinian people affected by the unjust situation in which they are living.
From Beirut, the Middle East Council of Churches urgently demanded the decision-makers in the world and all the concerned forces to intervene expeditiously and diligently in order to safeguard the rights and lift the injustice befalling the Arab Palestinian people, at a time when no one else remains under occupation in the 21st century and in the era of human rights. It stated that this people have the right to live a life of dignity, safety and prosperity just like the peoples of the world!
By: Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader
Source: Catholic Center for Studies and Media