Statement to be signed if you are interested

As we celebrate today 1.1. 2001 the World Day for Peace, I would like to share this with the Religious Leaders: Jews, Muslims and Christians

The following statement is an effort by Father Labib Kobti, a Catholic Priest from the latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, working in San Francisco California,  director of Al-Bushra.org.

The purpose of this statement is to create interfaith dialogue groups between religious leaders representing the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

These interfaith dialogue groups would serve to educate their respective constituents, both clerical and laity on matters brought up in the statement with respect to the issues of The Holy Land.

I call on the clergy, Sheikh, Rabbis of the respective religions who agree with the statement to:

1) Endorse the statement by affixing their signatures to it and send it to labibkobti@aol.com

2) Institute interfaith dialogue groups in their respective countries or cities.

3) Commit themselves to educating their respective congregations as well as others of their faith on the points agreed upon. This is not to infer that there will be a 100% agreement on each and every issue, but that they accept the basic of it.

4) Commit themselves to influencing Public Opinion favorably regarding the statement.

5) Commit themselves to a nonviolent resolution to the conflict.

As for me, Fr. Labib Kobti, I will publish the statement of principles in Al-Bushra.org  on the Internet, as well the different signatures and the different dialogue groups in the world or link to their respective websites.

It is our belief, as respective religious leaders of Jews, Muslims and Christians, that by working together we can contribute to a solution to the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Our commitment is to the principles of Truth, Justice and Peace among all parties, and the conduct of negotiations in an atmosphere devoid of rancor and violence.

We recognize before God Almighty, whom we serve and worship; the equal dignity of the five components of society in The Holy Land. These five components are as follows: (1) The citizens and inhabitants of Israel (2) The citizens and inhabitants of Palestine (3) people of the Jewish faith (4) people of the Christian faith (5) people of the Islamic faith.

As religious leaders we affirm that we can no longer shut our eyes nor close our ears to the sufferings of the Palestinian People, who have been deprived of their human rights as well as dignity, under the Israeli Occupation begun in the aftermath of the War of 1967; a period now of thirty-three years.

Therefore, with this in mind, we STATE the following:

1) We have all been created by God (we acknowledge the respective names the three Abrahamic religions assign to that one God) to share the same planet Earth and to be entitled to the same rights and to accept the same responsibilities with regards to ourselves and to others, as children of God.

2) We believe that with the guidance of our respective Holy Books, The Jewish Tenakh or Bible The Christian Gospel and the Muslim Qur’an which provide us access to eternal truths, that a life which is at peace with ourselves and our fellow human beings is attainable, once we respect the inalienable human rights and human dignity of all concerned.

3) We believe that the very ownership by man of the Promised Land is forbidden, "because the entire earth is mine" says the Eternal One of Israel; who is the one God of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

4) We believe we are all equal as humans, before God, that we are at the service of each other, that we utilize what we are given by God to live good and productive lives.

5) We denounce such notions as Exclusivisn, Radicalism, and Fanaticism, as xenophobic creeds that work against the will of God.

6) Thus, we believe, with respect to the above statements, that the State of Israel and its leadership must publicly accept their responsibility for the suffering of the native Palestinian people which includes those Palestinians currently living under military and civilian occupation; as well as those who are citizens living in the State of Israel; and the over 3.5 million living on a barely subsistence level, in the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and other countries.

7) We respectfully request that the State of Israel begin to adhere to documents to which it is a signatory, in International Law, and to UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

8) We urge the State of Israel to return those lands and properties belonging to the Palestinian people both collectively and as individuals, that have been illegally confiscated and/or expropriated by that State or by individuals or organizations acting as agents of that State. Civilian settlements in the Occupied Territories which include what is commonly known as The West Bank; Gaza and the Golan Heights, are proscribed, prohibited and condemned by International Law and by various UN resolutions. As these civilian settlements and communities are illegal, they must be stopped and then dismantled, and the properties returned to their rightful owners.

9) That being said, we believe that it is incumbent upon the Palestinians under occupation to recognize that violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians is morally wrong, even while under the yoke of oppression. It must be recognized that , in the struggle for freedom and justice, the killing of innocent civilians is a crime, and as such is to be condemned. When innocents on all sides are wounded or killed in conflict, all suffer.
 

10) We believe in the right of the Palestinian People to be secure in their own independent State, which is to be located in all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital; as based on international law and on UN resolutions.

11) We believe in the right of the state of Israel to secure, and internationally recognized borders and to the safety of its populace from belligerance. By the same token, we believe that all measures taken by the State of Israel which are in violation of International Law with respect to the rights and powers awared to a belligerant occupier as the result of military hostitilies are Null and Void. Israel’s security cannot be achieved until that same security is given to the Palestinians. This security will only come when Israel removes her military and civilian occupation from all of the occupied territories of the Palestinian people, as well as the Golan Heights; which is occupied territory of the state of Syria.

12) This security will furthermore only come as the result of just and fair negotiations with regard to the problem of refugees, internationally recognized borders, water rights, and infrastructure power rights such as access to electricity on a fair and equal basis with the Palestinians.

13) We believe in the right of the Palestinian people, of both Muslim and Christian faiths to have respective jurisdiction and soveriegnty over their Holy Places and that those of the Jewish faith have jurisdiction and sovereignty over their respective Holy Places. These Holy Places should be recognized by the international community.

14) We believe in the right of ALL of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland as well as to their homes; or where that is not physically feasible, to receive fair current market rate compensation and/or restitution for their properties as called for in the numerous UN resolutions and other international legal documents which pertain to this matter.

15) We condemn all manner of violence propogated by one side on the other. This violence includes state violence such as that used by the state of Israel, when it has been used to illegally confiscate Palestinian lands, demolish and destroy the homes and properties of individual Palestinians and their families, or to build illegal civilian settlements on such properties.

16) In contemplation and review, we have come to the conclusion that the United States brokered and so-called "Peace Process" has not been conducted in good faith or in an impartial manner with respect to all parties involved in the dispute. Thus we cannot describe the United States of America as "an honest broker" in the peace process. Any government that seeks to impose its will, based on its own domestic and strategic considerations, and which uses its right of veto power in the United Nations Security Council to thwart the will and good offices of the majority of that council, cannot be said to be impartial. By exercising this power, The United States of America renders the U.N. Security Council impotent to try and engage in a solution to the current and ongoing conflict.

17) Once freed from U.S. control, we call upon the United Nations to take over the brokerage of the negotiation of the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We also recognize that the European Union (EU) and those Muslim countries in the region of conflict might also be considered as brokers along with the United States of America, as pertaining to the issue of peace and justice between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

18) We endorse the non-violent, but effective campaigns of political resistance to subjugation as practiced by Mohatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandella. The actions taken by these great men in the defense of the inalienable human rights and political rights of their respective peoples are and should be admired and practiced as mechanisms by which to achieve the goals articulated above.

19)  We believe that international law gives people under occupation the right to resist the occupier.

20) We believe it is incumbent upon the State of Israel to review the lessons which should have been learned from her peaceful withdrawl from the Sinai and the subsequent peace treaty with Egypt and the Kingdom of Jordan; as well as her recent withdrawal of her military forces from Lebanon. No people has ever experienced real security while occupying the land of another people.
 

21) We believe that the future and survival of Israel is not based on land grabbing, or the building of settlements in occupied territory, or the refusal to recognized the inalienable human rights and dignity of the Palestinians, but on responding to these rights and dignities.

22) We believe that a secure and peaceful future for Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Holy land require compromise and accomodation, which we recognize will sometimes be existentially painful, from all parties involved in the region.

We, as religious leaders, pray that our support for these intiatives will be accepted, not as interference, but as gentle guidance towards the goal which we all seek as fellow human beings.

Signed,
1) Rev.Labib Kobti
2) Rev. Lyle H. Rasch
3) Donald Peter Andresen sfo, Divine Mercy Apostolate Foundation (Comments)
 

If you agree on the statment and commit to create a group, please sign and send it to labibkobti@aol.com