Montreal, March 15, 2002
Mr. George W. Bush
President of the United States
Dear Mr. President,
Re: Attacks against Christian Holy Shrines
No one was expecting to see the escalating violence in the occupied
Palestinian Territories to reach one of the holiest places in Christendom.
This kind of disrespect to our Christian Holy Shrines by the Israeli defence forces and ultimately their leader Ariel Sharon whose forces were within 500 yards from the Manger Square of the Church of Nativity, is an alarming signal to worldwide Christianity and Christian leaders.
Israel appears to have added a new target to its ever-growing list of symbols to be attacked and destroyed in its current unjustified war against the Palestinians, who are resisting occupation and struggling for their freedom and independent statehood.
The statue of the Holy Virgin Mary located on top of the Holy Family
Hospital Chapel in Bethlehem was unjustifiably attacked and there is no justification for such racist, discriminatory hate crimes such as this.
Therefore I urge you and the R.H. Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, to strongly condemn this kind of atrocities and disrespect to Christian shrines and other religious sites, before things get out of hand and eventually Christianity becomes threatened from its entire existence in the Holy Land.
[Such action by Israel] will definitely create a very tense situation, and worldwide. Christian outrage and condemnation that could have negative consequences and undesired effects on the overall policy being adopted by the Israeli government in the Holy Land of Palestine.
I also wish to remind you Mr. President, of your personal initiative that an Independent Palestinian State must be established with recognized borders, including a reminder that all related UN resolutions must be implemented as well, starting with 194, endorsed by the UN and the International Human Rights Organization.
Moreover the offer presented by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East region, and the
complete withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 boarder and land for peace should be seriously considered and implemented.
I conclude by praying to the Almighty God to guide you in your path towards justice and peace in the Holy Land of Palestine and Jerusalem.
Archpriest Antony Gabriel
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Montreal, Quebec
Cc: Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba, Primate
Antochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
The R.H. Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada.