Statement By The Head Of The Christian Communities In Jerusalem

April 26, 1989

Forwarded by

JUSTICE AND PEACE Secretariat

P.O.B 20459 JERUSALEM

On April 26,1989, during the Holy Week for the Oriental Christians. the Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem published a common statement on the present situation in the Territories occupied by Israel, a situation deteriorating steadily since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising.

We send you herewith a copy of the original text in English and we would be grateful to you if you could make it known as much as possible.

This statement is signed by:

His Beatitude Diodoros I Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem

His Beafitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch

His Beatitude Yeghishe Derderian, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch

Very Rev. Father Carlo Cecchitelli, of m, Custos of the Holy Land

His Exc. Amba Basilios, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop

His Exc. Mar Dionysios Behnam Jijawi, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop

His Exc. Msgr Lutfi Laham, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarcal Vicar

Right Rev. Samir Kafity, Bishop of the Episcopalian Church

Right Rev. Naim Nasr, Bishop ot the Evangelical Lutheran Church

We, the Head of the Christian Communities in the Holy City, have met togother in view of the grave situation prevailing in Jerusalein and the whole of our couniry.

It is our Christian conviction that as spiritual Leaders we have an urgent duty to follow up the developments in this situation and to make known to the world the conditions of life of our people here in the Holy Land.

In Jerusalem, on the West Bank and in Gaza our people experience in their daily lives: constant deprivation of their fundamental rights' because of arbitrary actions deliberately taken by the authorities. Our people are often subjected to unprovoked harassment and hardship.

We are particularly concerned by the tragic and unnecessary loss of Palestinian lives, especially among minors. Unarmed and innocent people are being killed by 'the unwarranted use of firearms and hundreds are wounded by the excessive use of force.

We protest against the frequent shooting incidents in the vicinity of Holy Places.

We also condemn the practice of mass administrative arrests, and of continuing detention of adults and minors without trial.

We further condemn the use of all forms of collective punishment, including the demolition of homes and depriving whole communities of basic services such. aswater and electricity.

We appeal to the world community to support our demand for the re-opening of schools and universities, closed for the past sixteen months, so that thousands of our children can enjoy again their basic right to education.

We demand that the authorities respect the right of believers to enjoy free access to all places of worship on the Holy Days of all religions.

We affirm our human solidarity and.sympatliy with all who are suffering and oppressed; We pray for the return of peace based on justice to Jerusalem and the Holy Land; and we request the international community and the United Nations organization to give urgent attention to the plight of the Palestinian people, and to work for a speedy and just resolution'of the Palestinian problem. 1989.htm

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