Between the Churches and Israel

By: Yusef Daher

January 28, 2003

Recently, disagreement escalated between the various Churches and the right wing government in Israel.  This is the result of the way the Israeli government is suppressing the Intifada, the injustices inflicted on Palestinians, in addition to a variety of extremist measures carried out by that government.

The Israeli Government is doing all that it can to exceed its limits against local churches, and to interfere in the appointment of bishops and patriarchs, in addition to military attacks against religious sites.  This in addition to interference in matters pertaining to religious schools and institutions.  The Israeli Government took steps that prevent priests and nuns from entering the country.  Also, it prevents the renewal of permits for religious representatives in the West Bank including Jerusalem, and in Gaza as well.  Moreover, priests are also subjected to arrest and interrogation, and statements are fabricated on their behalf.  Not only that, but also nuns and priests  are subjected to insult at the checkpoints, and on the boarder crossing and in the airport.  In a live broadcast,  the highest rank of the State of Israel  spoke to church leaders in a condescending manner.

It is no surprise that the Israeli Government does not pay attention to Arab countries and governments.  But to show disregard to the Vatican is a different matter altogether.  Obviously, not only the peace formula is changing, but as well the relation between states.  It seems, unacceptably, that might makes right.  Yet, the oppressed have God on their side.

The siege of the Church of Nativity constituted a test.  The international community failed, while unity of the Palestinians became visible among the Christians, Moslems, and the leadership as well.  This unity with the leadership did upset the occupiers.  However, we are hoping that the deportees will return.

The day will come when honorable persons in the world will say enough is enough to the Israeli tyrant Prime Minister.  The day will come when Palestinians will regain their freedom and their country.

In the meantime, Church leaders are constantly visiting President Yasser Arafat, and the occupiers are upset also because the whole world is still dealing with the Palestinian President.

Finally, our national unity and our belief in God will result in the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its Capital.  The day will come after this long night of injustice.

Laity Committee in the Holy Land ( LCHL ) is an interst group of Palestinian laity Christians from all denominations seeking to activate the Christian role in the general aspects of the Palestinian life.
Jerusalem - P O Box 19055, Ph. 050 545 179, Fax 6271574 . Website - http://www.HolyLandChristians.com