We, the Head of the Christian Communities in the Holy City, have met together in view of the grave situation prevailing in Jerusalem and the whole of our country.
It is our Christian conviction that as spiritual Leaders we have an urgent duty to follow up the developments in this situation and to make known to the world the conditions of life of our people here in the Holy Land.
In Jerusalem, on the West Bank and in Gaza our people experience in their daily lives: constant deprivation of their fundamental rights’ because of arbitrary actions deliberately taken by the authorities. Our people are often subjected to unprovoked harassment and hardship.
We are particularly concerned by the tragic and unnecessary loss of Palestinian lives, especially among minors. Unarmed and innocent people are being killed by ‘the unwarranted use of firearms and hundreds are wounded by the excessive use of force.
We protest against the frequent shooting incidents in the vicinity of Holy Places.
We also condemn the practice of mass administrative arrests, and of continuing detention of adults and minors without trial.
We further condemn the use of all forms of collective punishment, including the demolition of homes and depriving whole communities of basic services such aswater and electricity.
We appeal to the world community to support our demand for the re-opening of schools and universities, closed for the past sixteen months, so that thousands of our children can enjoy again their basic right to education.
We demand that the authorities respect the right of believers to enjoy free access to all places of worship on the Holy Days of all religions.
We affirm our human solidarity and sympathy with all who are suffering and oppressed; We pray for the return of peace based on justice to Jerusalem and the Holy Land; and we request the international community and the United Nations organization to give urgent attention to the plight of the Palestinian people, and to work for a speedy and just resolution’of the Palestinian problem
His Beatitude Diodoros I, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
His Beafitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch
His Beatitude Yeghishe Derderian, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch
Very Rev. Father Carlo Cecchitelli, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
His Exc. Amba Basilios, Coptic Orthodox Archbisho
His Exc. Mar Dionysios Behnam Jijawi, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop
His Exc. Msgr Lutfi Laham, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarcal Vicar
Right Rev. Samir Kafity, Bishop of the Episcopalian Church
Right Rev. Naim Nassar, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church