N. 11/1126/97

Jerusalem, November 13, 1997

STATEMENT BY THE LATIN PATRIARCATE OF JERUSALEM

REGARDING THE ALLEGATION THAT CHRISTIANS IN PALESTINE

ARE BEING SUBJECT TO PERSECUTION

ON THE HAND OF THEIR MUSLIM NATIONALS,

The Israeli media has recently reported allegations in which it said that Palestinian Christians are being subject to harassement and persecution under Palestinian Authority in Palestine. It reported that Palestinian Christians are being persecuted by their Muslim nationals.

The allegations made by the Israeli media and others are totally untrue aimed at covering up the real facts of current oppression and political instability in the area, aiming to provoke hostility and breaches within the Palestinian people.

The easiest way for that is to hammer on the religious feelings of both parties.

Nonetheless, it is ironic for the Israeli media to spread such unbased rumors when all Palestinian citizens, Chrsitians and Muslims alike, are subject to general instability due to the continuing Israeli occupation.

As a matter of fact, both Muslims and Christians are trying together to find their way out of the misery they both are enduring under occupation. While aware of the rumors that the Israeli unresponsible media is spreading, we reiterate our firm position that been repeatedly stated :

First, we deny and reject any allegation that we, Christians, are being subject to persecution at the hand of our Muslims nationals.

Secondly, we neither are pro nor con any political regime or governement. Our solidarity and defense go to the poor, oppressed regardless of their political idendity.

In this moment, we consider Palestianians to be the poor, oppressed under occupation and our solidarity goes to them as such.

Thirdly, we reaffirm that the Palestinian Authority is and has been doing its best to make sure that Christians are being fairly and equally treated as all other Palestinian citizens. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority chaired by Arafat is easily accessible by us, religious leaders, through many channels. It is useless to mention that many Christians are highly ranked within the Palestinian Authority structure.

Finally, we call upon the Israeli media as well as all others to be responsabile and truthful in what they report given that the destination of a people is as serious as life and death.

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