2 October 2000
Dear Friends, Colleagues & Partners:
Head of Christians in Jerusalem

Once again, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem as its peace has been shattered!

And once again, my heart cries out for all those bereaved families who are
nursing the excruciating pain of sudden loss. My heart cries out equally
for all the palpable suffering that is taking place, the traumas that have
been carelessly inflicted, and the festering bitterness that has been
re-born in the hearts of all those who aspire for a just peace.

I feel totally powerless and helpless - as do scores of my friends,
colleagues and acquaintances - whose vision in a future of hope and
reconciliation has been dealt another severe blow in the last few days.

Am I allowed to give in to the negative forces of despondency, and am I
meant to point the finger of recrimination at an over-powering Goliath
attempting - though not succeeding - to swat an ostensibly weaker David?
Or am I meant to believe that the good - which lies inherently somewhere
in the hearts of all peoples - will eventually also claim the hearts of
politicians and thereby alter bullets into ploughshares?

All human blood is red - whether Palestinian or Israeli - and the blood
that has been wasted in so many parts of Gaza, the West Bank, the Galilee
and Jerusalem is God-given, God-created and sacred.

As I meditate over those difficult days with a sense of deja vu about an
ever-recurring cycle of violence, and as my own faith wrestles with itself
for the goodness I wish to discover, I find solace in the solidarity that
is coming this way from many Church leaders - such as HB Latin Patriarch
Michel Sabbah - as much as from Christian and church-related organisations
- not least from the Excutive Committee of the World Council of Churches.

In so doing, I also relay to you the Statement of Their Beatitudes the
Patriarchs and Heads of the Christian Communities in Jerusalem dated 30
September 2000.  Theirs is a prophetic cry for an inclusive justice;
theirs is also a rallying cry for an inclusive peace; theirs is a
Christian cry against human subjugation.

Dr. Harry Hagobian
Jerusalem MECC
 


STATEMENT


"  With a resolute Christian faith that is predicated upon the teachings
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and which calls for love, forgiveness and
fellowship, We express our deep sorrow at the painful events that occurred
at the Haram al-Sharif on midday, 29 September 2000.  We offer our
sincerest condolences to the whole Palestinian people in general and to
the bereaved families in particular, and denounce the aggression of the
sanctuary of a holy place in Jerusalem.  We consider that such a violation
is tantamount to a violation on any and all Christian and Muslim holy
sites, and affirm our solidarity with the Palstinian people, Muslims and
Christians alike, in defending their fundamental rights of worship and
prayer in Jerusalem.  In so doing, We also reject any provocation against
the feelings of the faithful irrespective of its nature, shape or
presence.

We re-affirm hereby our Christian position, as we have done time and again
in our previous statements, of the need to ensure the freedom of movement,
access, worship and prayer, as much as the need to put an end to
violations against all holy places in Jerusalem.  We call for the
implementation of all relevant and binding resolutions that reflect the
principles of international legitimacy, and particularly those related to
Jerusalem, in order to secure a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for
the peoples of all the three monotheistic religions in the Holy Land.

'How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God's people to live together in
harmony!' Ps 133:1 "