Stop All kinds of Terrorisms

From Al-Bushra, Fr. Labib Kobti

August 28, 1997 Archishop McCarrick, Chairman of the U S Catholic Conference of Bishops Committee on International Policy wrote a letter to the Israeli Ambassador to the United States.

The letter speaks about the bombings at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. I think that the letter is actual and valid also for last bombings on Setember, 1997

The Archbishop as all of us is very saddeded of the terrible tragedy that killed innocent Israeli people. Who does not feel and compassionate with the great sufferings of the parents, family and nation of innocent victims.

The Archbishop also expressed his "distress at the harmful effects to human life of the "super closure" imposed on the West Bank and Gaza by the governement of Israel..." and the collective punishement "imposed on millions of people as a result of closures".

In fact the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians should stop. All kind of violence and provocations should stop too. Terroristic acts against Israeli citizens as well as the confiscation of Palestinian lands and building Israeli settlements, the demolition of Arab houses and the uprooting of fruit bearing trees, the humiliation of Palestinians in Jerusalem, Bethelehem, Hebron, Rammallah, Gaza and Nablus and their surroundings should stop immedialtely. All these are different kinds of terrorism. We need to stop all of them.

"We as Christians feel that the Israeli government's formula for peace is flawed. Its slogan is "security first and then peace." Such a formula casts justice aside and will never bring peace. As the prophet Isaiah has said "The effect of justice will be peace and the result of justice, quietness and security forever." (Isaiah 32:17).... Peace and security in our country cannot prevail unless they are established on justice. We believe that God is the God of justice and righteousness. God does not accept oppression, but calls on all of us as members of one human family, Arabs and Jews, to make justice and to love righteousness. God does not accept the domination of the powerful or their arrogance. Our faith assures us that any effort by the governing authority to impose peace in our country, which is not established on justice and righteousness will lead to failure and disaster. We, therefore, urgently call on the Israeli government to pursue the peace process with all seriousness and to carry out all its obligations to our people. " From the Statement of the Head of Christian Churches March in Jerusalem, September 29th, 1996

We beleive with the US Catholic Conference of Bishops that the Palestinian Authority should "punish terrorist groups and discourage their symathizers that endengers the security of the whole State of israel and diminishes the prospects of Palestian people."

We call the USA to act as an Honest Broker and look to the past, present and future. Both Israelis and Palestinians want peace, they should not suffer. They do not deserve to suffer. Only Comprehensive Justice and *TRUTH* can guide the Middle East to real Peace. Violence will not stop if Justice is not given to Palestinians, Israelis, Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis etc, Personal and regional interests will not give but sufferings and injustices. Please USA, help the Middle East to live in Comprehensive Peace. Enjoy the great Pride of witnessing that your Honest efforts gave the future generations a hope to live as brothers and sisters.

For those who are interested, here is the letter send by Archbishop McCarrick to the Embassy of Israel in the USA.

For the letter send to the representative of the of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and more news, please, visit Al-Bushra website at http://www.al-bushra.org under Us Catholics and other sites on Al-Bushra website

Al-Bushra http://www.al-bushra.org

Here is the letter:

Department of Social Development and World Peace

321 1 4th Street. N.E. Washington. DC 20017-1194 FAX (2O2)541 -3339

August 28, 1997

His Excellency Eliahu Ben-Elissar

Embassy of Israel

3514 International Drive NW Washington, D.C. 2Q008

Dear Mr Ambassador:

The deaths of the victims of the suicide bombers at the Mahane Yehuda market a month ago will be remernbered as a terrible tragedy, and we continue to hold all survivors and their families in Our prayers.

At the same time, we are also sorely distressed at the harmful effects to hurnan life of the "super-closure" imposed on the West Bank and Gaza by the Govermnent of Israel in response to the bombing. Last week we observed additional effects of the closure in apparently pushing Palestinian leadership to take steps away from a negotiated peace process and even seemingly abandoning recent assurances to the U.S. mediator, Ambassador Dennis Ross.

Just as we have stated our support for Israel and our opposition to all forms of terrorism, we have been outspoken for several years in our opposition to extended closure as a remedy for terrorism. Closure is no defense against terrorists who come from abroad or from within Israel itself, nor even from the territories. The facts tell another story.

The suffering imposed on millions of people as a result of the closures cannot be justified by military necessity or national security: Emergency medical cases, the chronically ill, and pregnant mothers denied access to hospital or needed medical treatment; two million people cordoned off into their towns and villages like so many prisoners, unable to move from one place to another; professors and students unable to travel to their classrooms; commerce, particularly in foodstuffs, brought to a halt, so there are not even fresh vegetables in the markets.

We appreciate the partial lifting of the closing on Bethlehem. The Bethlehem area, as you know, is of singular concern to us, because it is not only the birthplace of our Lord, but represents the last sizable Christian population on the West Bank. We remain very concerned about the free passage of clergy and church officials between Bethlehem and Jerusalem as well as the unimpeded movement of faculty, staff and students of Bethlehem University.

We are dismayed, moreover, that contrary to the 1993 Fundamental Agreement with the Holy See, busloads of pilgrims were turned back for many days from Bethlehem and other pilgrim sites.

To be sure those connected with the Mahane Yehuda bombing and the bomb factory recently found in Bethlehem some weeks ago need to be apprehended and effective steps taken to prevent similar activities from recurring but collective punishment of the whole community is simply wrong and should not be countenanced. Such mass deprivation has to be counterproductive for the cause of peace fueling resentment and despair about ever reaching a negotiated settlement.

We truly believe that the way to peace will be made smooth not just by diplomatic agrements but by the ability of Israelis to live in security, and the ability of Palestinians to live their daily lives in dignity and security. We appreciate the steps already taken by your governrnent to mitigate the closure in Betlilehern and other areas.

StilI, we strongly believe that fully lifting the present closures in their multiple dimensions and promising not to resort to closures again would be a serious step in the direction of building a just peace. There can be no dishonor in renouncing such a repressive tool as closure.

Mr. Ambassador, while I am traveling for much of the next couple of weeks, I would look forward to an opportunity to meet with you in Washington in the near future to discuss this and other issues.

Sincerely yours,

Theodore E. McCarrick

Archbishop of Newark Chairman, USCC Committee on

International Policy