I Pray for you, O Praying City, O Jerusalem: A christian Stand
By Rev. Labib Kobti
As we pray for Jerusalem, the Holy City of prayer, we ask you to pray with us and take a stand. By Re. Labib Kobti
Jerusalem is the Holy site of prayer. Jerusalem is the real city of prayer, unique in the world where Jews, Christians and Muslims come to meet with God and pray. That wonderful city of prayer, that praying city is a cause of of contradiction between those people who pray. Jerusalem became, as says the Memorandum about Jerusalem (signed in Jerusalem on Nov.14.1994 by catholics, orthodox and protestants of Jerusalem, (Our Magazine Al-Bushra published the Memorandum at the Issue of April-June 1995), "a rallying cry for different revived nationalistic and fundamentalistit stirring in the region and elsewhere. And unfurtunatly, the city has become a source of conflict and disharmony".
SPEAKING about Jerusalem, is not only a political issue but a spiritual and social and human rights issue, since "in Jerusalem is born every Christian, as continues the Memorandum, to be in Jerusalem is for every Christian to be at home".
DEFENDING our rights over Jerusalem is not an anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli matter because for us Christians: It is speaking about our " place of roots, ever living and nourishing...where the history of salvation which fulfills God's design in and through Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, took place". (the Memorandum). And because we Arab christians are SEMITES as well as our brothers and sister the Arab Muslims and the Jews of the Holy Land are semites. And as christians we are spiritually semites, as said the Pope, as much as any bodly in the world.
SEEKING justice for Jerusalem is not involving ourselves in a political labyrinth. ON THE CONTRARY, it is a kind of respect for our CATHOLIC, CHRISTIAN, MUSLIM and JEWISH Leaders who spoke clearly about the right of every body for equal duties and responsabilities in Jerusalem. We have to show them that we are concerned as much as they are about Jerusalem as we need to join our prayers for God, Allah, Adonia Jahweh the ONE MOST HOLY for every body, who wants us to share and cooperate and love each other in the HOLY CITY, the CITY OF PRAYER and PEACE.
It is a respect:
1- To the Popes who made a lot of declarations for "a just and peaceful solution for Jerusalem and insisted on the right of the Palestinians as much as on the right of the Israelis and condamned the way the Israelis are taking Arab lands and change the City. (Among many others see: Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Newsletter, March 22, 1971, Nobis in Animo, March 25, 1974, Osservatore Romano June-July 1, 1980 ). The Popes asked in the name of Justice, Peace and Love all nations to work for a right solution for the Palestinaians and the Israelis iquestion and in a special way for Jerusalem.
2-To our U.S Christian Leaders: Cardinals, Bishops Catholics, Orthodox, Episcopalians, and Evangelical Lutherans, who wrote a wonderful letter to President Clinton, dated March 6/1995 about Jerusalem, that adressed particular application of the principles of U.S. Catholic bishops statement of 1989, respecting all the parties, Israelis and Palestinians and acknowledging the commitment of Israel to the peace process (letter of clarification signed by Cardianal Keeler on March 13/1995).The letter signed by the Eight U.S. Christian leaders spoke about very important issues over Jerusalem, and was an answer to the "increasing fear expressed to us by Christians in the area that certain "developments on the ground in and around Jerusalem might prelude vital aspects of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians".
They wrote: " Mr. President, we appeal to you as representative leaders of chrisatian communions and organizations in the Unites States with strong ties to the Middle East. We ask that its role as facilitator to the Middle East Peace process, the U.S. governement place the question of Jerusalem higher on its agenda. Above all we ask that the administration use its influence to prevent this vital issue from being settled by force events or creation of facts on the ground...In contravention of international law, more and more land is taken out of Palestinian hands and placed under Israeli control by annexation, expropriation and private purchases, often coercive or of questionable legality. Israeli planning for " Greater Jerusalem" is an open secret. Israel's assertion that Jerusalem will remain the "eternal and undivided capital of Israel" is widley interpreted as a claim of exclusive Israeli sovereignity over the city that preempts genuine negotiation. We are concerned: That the administration is backing away from the long-term U.S. policy that East Jerusalem is subject to U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 regarding territories occupied by Israeli armed froces in 1967. That the admisnstration is failing to recognize and support Palestinian rights and interests in Jerusalem. That the administration is not using its considerable influence to halt Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and continued expansion into Palestinan areas...It is our conviction, Mr. President...in view of the deteriorating conditions on the ground And the central mportance of this issue to the peace process, we urge you to use your good offices to see that the negotiators take up tje question of Jerusalem as soon as possible and that the position of the United States fully reflects the concerns expressed in this statement".
3- To the Christian authorities in Jerusalem who wrote in the Memorandum about "The Significance of Jerusalem for Christian" dated Novemebr 14/1994 "none can appropriate Jerusalem in exclusivist ways. We invite each party to go beyond all exclusivist visions or actions, and without discrimination, to consider the religious and national aspirations of the others, in order to give back to Jerusalem its true universal character and make of the city a holy place of reconcilaition for humankind". They called for a "special judicial and political stature for Jerusalem which reflects the universal importance and significance of the city."
We Arabs (Muslims and Christians) feel betrayed, in a way, when we feel, we need to speak about "Jerusalem, the symbol and promise of the presence of God, of fraternity and peace for mankind, in particular for the children of Abraham:Jews, Christians and Muslims", we feel that we have to put many excuses and even to beg for our rights and pray the U.N., the USA and the Europeans, or all who have any authority over political, historical, social issues to speak out for COMPREHENSIVEJUSTICE AND PEACE in JERUSALEM and despite of this our voice is not heard. When this City is ours as Arabs ( Muslims andChristians) as well as Jews no body has the right to call to an EXCLUSIVE right over JERUSALEM.
Jerusalem is our Oklahoma; as isPalestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Our People, the Arabs in Palestine suffered a lot, and they are suffering, they have been thrown out of their houses, and land "were taken by annexation, expropriation and private purchases, often coercive or of questionable legality"
THIS IS WHAT THE US CHRISTIAN LEADERS SAID RIGHTLY IN THEIR LETTER ON MARCH 6, 1995 TO PRESIDENT CLINTON.
When our Great Country the U.S " is backing away from the long-term U.S. policy that East Jerusalem is subject to U.N. Security Council Resolution 242" and when the VETO at U.N. or a kind of silence or kind of making it not at all working as a restraining resolution, as the ones against Iraq or Cuba or Lybia, is used to legalize what was taken by force, we do feel mistreated and misunderstood by our govermnment.
We need to say to our friends in and out of the USA and all over the world that:
1- Yes, We pray for Jerusalem, but we seek justice and peace for Jerusalem in our continuos prayers to God, Allah, Adonai Yahweh, the ONE MOST HOLY for all of us.
2- That we need to write to the Congress, to the Senators, to our Cardinals and Bishops, Muslim and Jewish to support the just cause of Jerusalem.
3- We need to repeat to everybody that: "NONE CAN APPROPRIATE JERUSALEM IN AN EXCLUSIVCE WAYS" as says the conclusion of the Memorandum of their Beatitudes, the Patriarches and of the heads of the christian communities in Jerusalem on "the Significance of Jerusalem for Christians". November 14.1994
4- We are asking olny our rights over Jerusalem, we are not asking more than that, we ask what our Christian, Muslim nad Jewish Leaders for Jerusalem ask. And we know that what, the Popes,the Cardianls the Patriarchs, Bishops and Head of Christian Communities, Muslim and Jewish communities, are asking is right and just for the three Abrahamic faiths Jews, Christians and Muslims.
5- We ask to live in Peace side by side, we the five components of the Holy Land society: The Israelis and the Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims, equally sharing the same rights and duties. "Because if Jerusalem continues to be governed by only one political authority, related to one religion, this means that the one who remains outside will nourish in jis soul and heart the desire to come back and enter Jerusalem again by war and violence, as happened until now through the long history of Jerusalem and of the Holy land." Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah to Al-Bushra Magazine December 1995
6- Could you pray with us, and take a stand for the FUTURE OF JERUSALEM
God bless you Rev. Labib Kobti