The World Council of Churches has established an international advocacy week for Israel/Palestine. All churches are invited to join in this week of action to send a message that the church is watching the situation and taking new actions for peace in Israel/Palestine. The week will be launched in Jerusalem on 12th March. Pax Christi International and several of its member organisations participate in the Week of Action. For more information, please go to:
Here is the statement of
the Church leaders in Jerusalem urging the world churches and all Christians
to advocate for peace, dated 6 February 2006.
Fr. Paul Lansu
Pax Christi International
IN JERUSALEM URGE WORLD CHURCHES AND ALL CHRISTIANS TO ADVOCATE FOR
treated the wounds of my people lightly saying Peace, Peace when there
is no Peace.” Jeremiah 6:14
member suffers all members suffer with it.” I Corinthians 12: 26
the vision… Habakkuk 2:2
Churches and Christian brothers
and sisters around the world:
Grace and Peace to you from
The World Council of Churches
together with Churches and international agencies have joined together
for a special Christian advocacy initiative called International
Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel, March 12
– 19, 2006. This initiative comes from those who are part
of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)
together with Pax Christi International. The EAPPI began three years
ago as a response to a call from the Churches in Jerusalem. Today one
year away from the 40th anniversary of the illegal Israeli
Occupation of Palestine we renew our call and urge you to actively participate
in the worldwide week of Christian advocacy for a just peace.
During the last 39 years Churches,
Church Leaders and ordinary Christians have worked tirelessly and patiently
advocating for Peace in Palestine and Israel. Now as the situation
continues to deteriorate and opportunities for peace are forsaken it
is crucial for Christians to make their voices heard vigorously in the
public arena. Together with the strong and deeply treasured actions
of prayer and Christian solidarity, the churches in Jerusalem and the
Holy Land need you to speak with the moral authority of the church from
the ethical perspective of the Christian faith. Lawmakers and
politicians in your country need to know that the Churches are well
aware of the on-going suffering caused by the Occupation and the subsequent
insecurity and are becoming even more actively involved in seeking a
just peace. All national governments have a responsibility to
uphold international law and Christians have a role in holding our governments
We ask all Christians to consider
the prophetic role of the Church and the power and importance of public
witness so that the sufferings, injustices and insecurity of the Occupation
which affects Israelis and Palestinians—be they Christian, Muslims
or Jews—becomes an urgent priority for all national governments.
The positive attention given
to the unilateral pullout from the Gaza strip has served to draw world
attention away from the realities on the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
There is a steady expansion of Israeli military control. Settler
blocks continue to grow and land is illegally seized to build a wall
which has been condemned internationally. West Bank cities are being
choked to death economically and the people live in constant fear of
military incursions. The security situation within the Palestinian
Territories is in crisis and the Palestinian Authority must be supported
in its efforts to impose the rule of law and at the same time be held
accountable in fulfilling their responsibilities.
The price of Occupation is
unbearably high for those living in Israeli as well. The country
is dominated by insecurity, fear and poverty at the same time social
inequalities spiral out of control.
Palestinian Christians face
the same struggles and suffer the same desperate situation as all other
Palestinians but we also face an alarming rate of migration out of Palestine.
The Christian presence in Palestine is important for the whole society
and we are concerned for the future of our community and for the institutions
that serve all Palestinians.
The same solution is required
to end the suffering both in Israel and Palestine: A just peace reached
through negotiations guided by international law. An end to the
illegal Occupation is the first step towards real peace and security
for both Israel and Palestine. Peace, Justice and Security for Palestine
will bring Peace, Justice and Security for Israel.
We continue to pray for the
peace of Jerusalem and to insist that a shared and open Jerusalem, which
respects the rights and sovereignty of the three religions and two peoples,
is essential to a just peace in the Middle East.
The Christian perspective on
law and justice leads us to call for a two-state solution based on international
law which provides a truly viable, contiguous, independent, sovereign
We affirm a vision of Peace
with Justice based on reconciliation. We as Christians have faith
in God’s power and presence. Our faith is a well spring of hope
and perseverance. It is that very hope that leads us to assert
that the present situation can and must be changed. We call
for assertive non-violent efforts to bring peace and we condemn in the
strongest possible terms all those that use violence and acts of terror.
However, the situation is urgent.
With every passing month the possibility of a peaceful negotiated solution
grows more distant. The more settlements that are built and the
more the Wall sets the borders on confiscated lands means that the West
Bank communities are separated further from each other. Similarly,
as Muslims and Christians have further restrictions on access to the
Holy sites especially in Jerusalem, the people cannot travel and families
are separated. Palestinian children are illegally detained and
more Palestinian Christians leave the Holy Land because of lack of work,
security and hope for the future. In consequence a viable, contiguous
Palestinian State becomes less likely. Every day is pushing a short
term solution further away.
We hope and pray that Christians
throughout the world will join together in the week of March 12 to
19 to make a public witness for peace. It is our prayer that you
will speak boldly to your lawmakers to lift up the suffering of the
people and to ask them to undertake specific actions for peace.
In Jerusalem, Bethlehem and
Ramallah Christians will be gathering in joint services on March
12 to launch the International Church Action for Peace in Palestine
and Israel and lift up the Christian voice for a Just Peace. Join
us in your own country and speak to your own government.
It is your solidarity that
together with God's grace helps us to be advocates of Peace and ministers
of Reconciliation in this war-torn place. God has given us the
vision of Peace with Justice: Join with us to "make plain the vision".
+Patriarchs and Heads of
Churches in Jerusalem 06 -02 –2006
+ Patriarch Theophilos III: Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Patriarch Michel Sabbah: Latin Patriarchate. President of Pax Christi International.
+ Patriarch Torkom II: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate.
Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
+ Anba Abraham: Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Swerios Malki Mourad: Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate.
+ Abune Grima: Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+ Paul Nabil Sayyah: Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate.
+ Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal: Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East.
+ Bishop Mounib Younan: Lutheran Evangelical Church.
+ Pierre Melki, Exarch for the Syrian Catholics - Jerusalem
+ André Dikran Bedoghlyan: Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.
Archimandrite Mtanious Haddad:
Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.