Pray for Peace in the Holy Land

By Patriarch Michel Sabbah,

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

Septemebr 14, 1997

Dear Brothers,

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you. All parties in our Holy Land are still searching for peace. But instead of peace, we are witnessing more violence. "Peace, they say, when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14).

We still remember and weep with those who are weeping, these days, the victims of violence in the market places of Jerusalem, in Palestinian cities and villages as well as with those in Southem Lebanon.

The conditions in the Palestinian areas, in particular, are getting worse by the day. The hardship and suffering of the people, due to the continuos closures lasting now more than fifty days, makes it impossible for people to move out of their cities and villages: thousands and thousands of people are jobless, or prevented from reaching hospitals, and sometimes it is quite very difficult for them to get their daily bread. The situation had worsenend because of the renewed violence, but also and formost because of a disrupted vision of a true and comprehensive peace on the part of Authorities, who insist more upon security than on peace itself.

Our Chrisitan position is as follows: comprehensive peace is based on equality of political and civil rights for all, Israelis and Palestinians. Security also should be provided equally to all people. Violence should stop. But also those leaders who cause violence should change their policy. Those who go to violence are responsabile, but also the Israeli Authorities who feed that kind of violence by oppression and injustices should be held more accountable for the continuation of violence..

We adress this message to our faithful in the Palestinin Territories, in Israel and in Jordan. We appeal to all our faithful in all the parts of our diocese to share the sufferings of their brothers and sisters, through prayer and a strong witnessing to the truth, as well as through the deepening of their Christian vision od peace. We are all, Israelis and Palestinians, sons and daughters of God, equally loved by him. We are conforted by the growing number of men and women of good will, Israelis and Palestinians, who are seeking together a comprehensive peace.

Therefore we call upon all our parishes, churches, religious houses and institutions, to pray for peace, so that God may enlighten the minds of the Authorities and show them the true ways which lead to a real peace. Pray that God inspire peace in the hearts of all, the peace which will be able to build the new society basd on reconciliation, justice and love.

+ Patriarch Michel Sabbah,

Jerusalem September 14, 1997