Christian Leaders in Holy Land Call for Peace Talks

Appeal Made in a Joint Message

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JERUSALEM, MAR. 28, 2001 (ZENIT.org-FIDES).- All the bishops of Christian churches in Jerusalem appealed for a rapid end to "the conflict that affects thousand of lives in this land."



The 13 heads of churches addressed the pre-Easter appeal to the "Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, world leaders (secular and religious), as well as all men and women of good will." The church leaders voiced their concern "for the mental and bodily well-being of all the citizens of this Holy Land, Christian, Muslim and Jew."

"We believe that the violence, which has intensified over these past months, will only end when both parties in the conflict make a determined effort to respect each other´s rights, while affirming the dignity and worth of every human life, man, woman and child," the Christian leaders stressed.

In their message, the leaders say that they "are convinced that peace-seeking negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians are the only assured way of providing for the well-being of all our peoples."

The messages asks for "even greater assistance from our brothers and sisters abroad -- governments, aid agencies, as well as Churches and private individuals -- for those in need in areas of conflict. Despite all the kind help to date (for which we express sincere gratitude), many are desperate for food, clothing, shelter and the like."

The appeal was signed on behalf of Catholics by Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah; Ignatius VIII Pierre Abdul-Ahad, Syrian Catholic patriarch; Father Giovanni Battistelli, custos of the Holy Land; André Dikran Bedoghlyan, Armenian Catholic patriarchal exarchate; Maximus Sallum, Greek Catholic (Melkite) patriarchal exarchate; and Paul Nabil Sayyah, Maronite patriarchal exarchate.

The Orthodox were represented by Archimandrite Cornelius, Locumen Tenens, Greek Orthodox patriarchate; Patriarch Torkom II, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox patriarchate; Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox patriarchate; Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox patriarchate; Abba Gabriel, Ethiopian Orthodox patriarchate.

The Protestant signatories were Riah Abu Al-Assal, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East; and Mounib Younan, Lutheran Evangelical Church.