A message from Christian and Moslem Clergymen in Bethlehem and Jerusalem

1- Bethlehem is in a disaster due to the Israeli Siege

2- A statement issued by the institutions in the Hebron Governorate

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1- Bethlehem is in a disaster due to the Israeli Siege by Christian and Moslem Clergymen in Bethlehem and Jerusalem

Aug. 26th, 1997

The Christian and Moslem clergy men appeal to the conscienscious and all peace - loving movements in the world for immediate intervention to save the Bethlehem zone ( the Birthplace of Jesus Christ ) from the Israeli siege that was imposed four weeks ago.

The Israeli aim of this siege is to destroy the Palestinian economy and practice pressure on the inhabitants which will eventually lead to hinder the undergoing preparations for Bethlehem 2000 and deprive students and teachers to get to their schools. Moreover tourism and trade are also effected. We hope that the Israelis will be committed to the peace process and stop building settlements. We consider the closure imposed by the Israelis a decision that is against the Palestinian Authority and will destroy the peace process and represents a continuation of the Israeli occupation strategy, collective punishment, terrorism, and racism. The aforementioned personnalities call to everybody for immediate intervention to save our people in Palestine and Bethlehem in particular with special emphasis on the following statements:

1- Lift the siege, condemn all Israeli measures against Palestinians, and support the Palestinian National Authority headed by President Yasser Arafat.

2- Stop all plans against Bethlehem which never has precedent since 1600 year and remove all check points between Bethlehem and Jerusalem in order to enable all citizens for freedom of worship and medication

3- Stop confiscation of land, building of settlements, demolishing houses, and arresting young men in a barbaric way.

4- Appeal to the Supreme Council of Churches to close all churches in Palestine for one hour in condemnation for the continuing closure of the city of peace ( the Birthplace of Jesus Christ ) and in protest on the Israeli measures against the citizens.

5- Maintain just peace that achieves the Palestinian inspiration in restitution of the land and establishing the Palestinian State with its Capital Jerusalem under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat.

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2- A statement issued by the institutions in the Hebron Governorate

Due to the continuation of the Israeli policy against the Palestinian people which aims to destroy the peace process and get the area back to bloodshed and violence, the National and Islamic representatives from all institutions in the Hebron area met on Aug. 26th, 1997, and announced the following statement:

1- The unfair Israeli measures represented by the Israeli siege on Bethlehem is an unjustified collective measure and has no relation with security of Israel. We value the solid attitude of our people and ask the whole world to immediately intervene to lift the siege on the city of peace.

2- We, as a sieged people, declare our attitude that security and stability will not be achieved unless the Palestinian people acquire their liberty and full rights on their national soil with full sovereignty on their independent state with its capital Jerusalem.

3- The Palestinian people with all its factions stand in one tunnel to protect its liberty and the National freedom. The policy of Natanyahu that is systematically applied is designed to destroy the peace process in the area.

4- We ask the Islamic World in general and the Arab World in particular to elevate its position to the level of the events in the area. We also appeal for the support of our people and its national authority and for the rejection of the Israeli policy.

5- We appeal to the sponsoring countries of the peace process , especially the United States of America, to be fair mediator for the purpose of achieving a just, comprehensive, and durable peace in the area.