Church statements on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

The Middle East Council of Churches
Statement on the situation in Palestine

October 2, 2000

The Middle East Council of Churches strongly condemns the criminal Israeli actions against the Palestinian people, actions that have claimed hundreds of victims, both dead and wounded, men and women, youth and children. In its actions the Israeli armed forces used all its weapons, even helicopter gunships and tanks, to confront stone-throwing Palestinians and individual members of the Palestinian police.

These events resulted from the provocative visit of the leaders of the right-wing Israeli Likhud party, Ariel Sharon, to the holy Muslim shrine, al-Haram as-Sharif. They grow out of an increasing Zionist arrogance and obstinacy, and a studied and intentional threat not just to the Palestinian people but to the whole Arab world and to every Muslim that the things they hold sacred will be trampled under foot.

The Middle East Council of Churches has the issue of Jerusalem at the very center of its concerns. The issue of Palestine occupies a great deal of its energies. And it cooperates in these matters with all those throughout the world who love peace. Keeping faith with the Arab Working Group on Muslim-Christian Dialogue with which it has convened a number of meetings to deal with Jerusalem, in the name of its members the council addresses a call to sister western churches that they bring pressure to bear upon their governments, in particular those governments which play a decisive role in the affairs of the Middle East, to cause the Israeli government to halt these criminal activities and grant full and unqualified recognition to Palestinian rights, particularly the right of Arab sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem.

Affirming the Arab character of Jerusalem and its great spiritual, political, historical and geographical value, the council of our churches also asserts that peace cannot be realized if it is not realized in the first among all Palestinian cities.

The Middle East Council of Churches extends to the Palestinian people condolences for the martyrs who have fallen during the past few days, but it also salutes their steadfastness. It prays that God Most High will open the eyes and enlighten the insight of those who hold power in this world that they may work in good faith and with courage to establish justice where now stands oppression, love where now stands enmity, and peace where now there is only war.

Rev. Dr. Riad Jarjour
General Secretary
Middle East Council of Churches
Beirut, October 2, 2000
Tel.: +961 1 344896-742088
Fax: +961 1 344894

Middle East Council of Churches
P.O. Box 54259
3722 Limassol, Cyprus
Tel.: +357+5+586-022
Fax: +357+5+584-613

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