World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Condolences on the death of President Yasser Arafat

11 November 2004

Letter to H.E. Mr Ahmad Qurei', Prime Minister, Palestinian National Authority,
11 November, 2004


Your Excellency,

On the sad occasion of the death of President Yasser Arafat, we extend our condolences
to the Palestinian people and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

We also ask God's comfort for the members of his family in this time of deep
grief.

President Arafat will be remembered for bringing the Palestinian people together
and for his unique and tenacious contribution to the cause of establishing their
national home.

We stand with the Churches of the Holy Land to honour his commitment to
their place in the Palestinian society, its affairs and its future. President Arafat
often made sure to mention the church as well as the mosque as core institutions
of Palestinian national life. True to the customs of mutual respect among his
diverse people, he celebrated Christmas with the churches of Bethlehem as circumstances
permitted.

On his long road as a leader, Yasser Arafat came to the recognition that true
justice embraces peace, security and hope for both Palestinians and Israelis. His
path has now ended, amid the rocks and thorns of occupation, at a distance from
the goal he sought. As he is laid to rest the world will see - from the location of
his final resting place - how far the Palestinian people must still travel together.

In solidarity with the Palestinian people, the World Council of Churches will
continue to work for human rights, sustainable livelihoods, medical care and basic
freedoms in the days and years that lie ahead and until there is peace.

Yours truly,

Peter Weiderud
Director
Commission of the Churches on International Affairs