One City, Two Flags, two Capitals

COMMENTS

ADC 14th National Convention June 12-15,1997

ORGANIZING IS POWER

From Al-Bushra/ Fr. Labib Kobti htttp://www.al-bushra.org

1- Patriarch Michel Sabbah, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Jerusalem came for one day visit to Washington on the invitation of the President of ADC Hala Maksoud, so as to speak in the Capital of the USA, Washington D.C at the ADC 14th NATIONAL CONVENTION. He was the keynoter on Saturday 14th of June. He was presented by Abduraham Alamoudi, Executive Director of the American Muslim Council.This fact showed the wonderful cooperation, love and sharing between MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS. In itself, this presentation, made a clear message from the ADC to the whole world that Christians do not need protection from Israel to protect their Holy Places from the Muslims but on the CONTRARY that "Palestinians are Mulsims and Christians. Local Christians are Palestinians. They are an integral part of the palestinian society and belong to their people, to its history and culture...". Cooperations between Muslims and Christians in the Middle East at the Reiligiopus and civil levels are as wonderful as ever assured Patriarch Michel Sabbah.

2- WHEN a PERSONALITY like Patriarch Michel Sabbah comes from Jerusalem for ONE ONLY DAY so as to speak. He comes to deliver an IMPORTANT MESSAGE.

3- WHERE: He spoke in WASHINGTON DC, where things are decided on the Issues of the Middle East, where Vetoes are fabricated, where the UN cannot, at it seems, but accept what is decided by the US admininstration, and where the Israelis find that they have the best BROKER EVER for their policy of expantion.

4- WHEN: In the very difficult moment of the Peace Process; When everything seems lost; When two day after the United States House of Representatives voted (406-17 vote), a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. When the house also approved $100 million to move the US Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

5- To WHOM the MESSAGE is delivered: To the ADC (for ACTION), to the Arab Americans as whole, to the USA GOVERNEMENT, to the ISRAELIS and the ARABS as well to the JEWS, CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS, not only of the Middle East and Holy Land but to the world wide.

6- THE MESSAGE OF PATRIARCH MICHEL SABBAH

a- JERUSALEM IS A DEVIDED CITY: "Despite its political and military unification, Jerusalem today is devided", is the answer of Patriarch to the very recent Congress voting for Jerusalem, in which the Congress congratualated Israel for 30 year anniversary of UNIFING Jerusalem, "the least we can say about that voting, said the Patriarch, it is unforunate... because it does not lead to peace. It is not the true way to peace...the true way to peace in Jerusalem is the recognition of all its people's right and dignity. Ignoring one will not help the other. It is acting against both: because abscence of peace, due to exclusivism, will affect both (the Palestinians and the Israelis), depriving them together of the wanted peace".

b- JERUSALEM IS NOT A UNIFIED CITY as they do pretend. It is OCCUPPIED TERRITORY and not DISPUTED TERRITORY as the patriarch said, quoting the Stands and positions of the Vatican (Jerusalem - Considerations of Secretariate of State OF THE HOLY SEE, document published in June1996, (you can find it on http://www.al-bushra.org under Vatican and Middle East), as well quoting the UN resolutions and the long term policiy of the USA: "The part of the City military occupied in 1967 and subsequently annexed and declared capital of the State of Israel is OCCUPIED TERRITORY..this same position was expressed and is still expressed by resolution 478 of the United Nations Council adoped on 20 August 1980...."

c- JERUSALEM is open to the whole world but CLOSED TO PALESTINIANS, Muslims and Christians who live some miles from it. Palestinaisn cannot go to their shrines to pray, they cannot go to school, hospitals etc in Jerusalem and this since many years.A Jew from Russia or Brooklyn, NY or any part of the world can go to Jerusalem and live in Jerusalem when the JERUSALIMITES PALESTINIANS are prohibited the fundamental "RIGHT OF RETURN" or access to their own Holy City. "Jerusalem is first of all the spiritual capital for two peoples and for three religions. Therefore the city should remain always, in any and all circumstances of war or peace, ACCESSIBLE TO ALL. Jerusalem should be above all hostilities and wars.The experience of history shows that it is impossible for any government to isolate any of its towns from general SECURITY MEASURES, and therefore in time of war borders are closed to all ennemies and opened only to friends. This has happened and even today happens in the Holy City; Jerusalem was in the past and is today opened to all friends from the whole world. BUT CLOSED, for security reasons, TO ITS OWN CHILDREN and those nearest to it in the PALESTINIAN TOWNS and villages"

d- ALL what the Israeli did in the Occupied Territories, Jerusalem and West Bank is NULL AND VIOD: "all Israeli measures which exceed the power of a belligerent occupant under international law are NULL and VOID...the Resolution 478 declared that the Israeli "basic law" concerning Jerusalem to be "null and void" and which invited countries with Embassies in Jeruslam to move themselves elsewhere". This is a clear message to the US vetoes, to the Congress, to Israel and to the world. "The current changes undertaken by the Israeli authoritys: the Abu Gheneim - Har Homa settlement and the withdrawal of the Identity Cards of the palestinians of Jerusalem, have paralyzed the peace process and discouraged hopes for reconciliation. It is high time that the question of Jerusalem be put as top priority to be discussed first. Once the QUESTION OF JERUSALEM is settled, THE PEACE PROCESS WILL GO SMOOTHLY"

e- FIVE COMPONENTS IN JERUSALEM SHOULD BE CONSIDERED EQUALLY: "Two peoples: Palestinians and Israelis...; three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam... should enjoy the same freedom, the same dignity, the same duties and rights. No one should feel like a guest or a stranger in one's own city. No one should be put the situation asking for protection from any one else. For all of US CHILDREN OF JERUSALEM, despite our national and religious differences, our future is to be ONE FAMILY of the Holy Land. Much purification, many rectification will have to be done in order to reach this state.

f- ONE CITY, TWO FLAGS AND TWO CAPITALS: "The question to be asked is: How to reunify Jerusalem today? As geography, as shrines, holy places and stones, Jerusalem is important, but the living people in it, Palestinians and Israelis, are just as important. Its geographical unity is important, but the human unity of its two peoples is just as important. Today, the HUMAN UNITY DOES NOT EXIST. Therefore the question is: How to realize this HUMAN UNITY? Every political formulation, if it is to last and take effect for long future, must take the living people into consideration. How to reunify Jerusalem? By recognition of the rights of both peoples in it and through the shared governement of the City. The ISRAELI PART WILL BE ISRAELI; THE PALESTINIAN PART WILL BE PALESTINIAN. The two parts can be geografically and politically separated if the hearts of the two people and the believers of the three religions (the five components) are unified. The two parts can also be politically unified through a formula of shared administration: ONE CITY, TWO FLAGS AND TWO CAPITALS, as is already said by some. MUTUAL RECOGNITION AND SHARING, these are two MAIN elements on the way to returning unity to Jerusalem, and so to achieve peace and reconsiciliation between its two peoples and three religions"

g- SPECIAL STATUS FOR JERUSALEM: "Given its pluralistic character and its religious importance, Jerusalem requires a special; status...Because of the universal significance of Jerusalem, the international community ought to be engaged in the stability and permanence of this statute. Jerusalem is too precious TO BE DEPENDENT SOLELY ON MUNICIPAL OR NATIONAL POLITICAL AUTHORITIES, WHOEVER THEY MAY BE. Experience shows that an INTERNATIONAL GUARANTEES is neccessary...when Israelis and Palestinians agree on this vision, when beleivers of the Three religions agree on this vision, they will have taken a historic and decisive step, introducing the region and the world into a new historic phase"

h- THE CHRISTIAN PRESENCE IN JERUSALEM IS THE RESPONSABILITY OF THE WHOLE WORLD: "Palestinians are Muslims and Christians. Local Chrisatians are Palestinians. They are AN INTEGRAL PART of the Palestinian society and belong to their own people, to its history and culture, just as all faithful, Christians, Muslims and Jews everywhere in the world belong to their own people, history and culture. This fact must be stressed because some have the tendency to consider Christians in the Holy Land as solely Christians, without any incarnation within a people; merely a kind of religious ethnic community which has survived over centuries and is now an erratic and strange body among modern political entities. But Christians Palestinians are PALESTINIANS, (as are the Lebanese, the Iraquis, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, the Syrians, the Americans, the French etc); they belong to their people and are part of its hopes and sufferings...As local Christians we are aware that Jerusalem belong to us for two reasons, religious and civil, whereas as all Christians throughout the world are concerned for Jerusalem on religious grounds only. We are aware, as local Christians, as well that we have both the duty and the right to welcome in Jerusalem all Christians of the world and serve them in their piligrimage and in their relation in faith with the same Mother city". The Christian Presence is Jerusalem is both an ARAB ISSUE and Christian Issue as well. Local Christians are Arabs, the Arabic world should support the Christian Presnece and stand for it. Christians of the whole world should stand for the presence of the local Christians as LIVING STONES, the Holy Land should not become a museum of sites. The mosaic image of the Holy City should stay as a symbol of love, sharing and cooperation between the three religions as an EXAMPLE for the WHOLE WORLD: "The three religions must relate equally to the city in all that concerns the political, civil and religious rights and responsabilities of their believers. "In the name of religions, each of the three relgions has an equal right to be present in the land and to have access to it in order to be able to practice its faith. But the political rights of one or another of the three religions, or of any of the faithful, derives from the international law, based on historic and legitamte rights. TODAY, THEY STILL DEPEND ON THE FORCE OF MILITARY OCCUPATION". "Religious leaders have a role to play, a reconciliatory role, not the role of exclusivist extremism...All theree concerned religious agree thsat this is the City of God and of his Prophets. The way shown by God to beleivers is not war, although we find human history full of religious wars, and even find spirit of war in Holy Scripture, in its human and linguistic expression. Despite that, the commandement of God to humankind is: Know wach other, love ech other, collaborate for the good of all"

End

Important: PLEASE, SHOW YOUR SUPPORT TO PATRIARCH SABBAH BY SENDING A MESSAGE BY MAIL OR FAX TO JERUSALEM AT THE LATIN PATRIARCHATE OF JERUSALEM: Address: His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, P.O.Box 14152, Newm Gate, Old City of Jerusalem, Israel, Fax: 011-972-2-6271652

NOTES: 1- You can find the whole text of Patriarch Sabbah speach, as well the Memorandum of the Patriarchs, the "Jerusalem- Consideration of Secretariate of State, Vatican" and many other things on http://www.al-bushra.org look for Latin Patriarchate, Head Chruches, Vatican and Middle East, you can find also a lot of article wrote by Patriarch Sabbah, the vatican, the Head of Christian Churches and their Human Rights organization.

2- The Patriarch representing the Church of Jerusalem Orthodox, Catholic and Protestants became with them our REAL AND TRUE SOURCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE ISSUES OF THE MIDDLE EAST, HOLY LAND AND JERUSALEM, follow up with by visiting Al-Bushra website: http://www.al-bushra.org

3- We advise you to read "Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Holu Land and Jerusalem, an essay for cooperation, sharing and love between Jews, Christians and Muslims".

4- Try to subscribe at Al-Bushra mailing list, if you want to get the last things about the Middle East, as well we incpourage you to wr comment.htm ite and DARE TO SPEAK OUT.