We, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, affirm our determination to do all in our power to work for Peace in this Holy Land – a Peace that is concerned with the well-being of every resident of this Land, be they Israeli or Palestinian, to give them security, justice, freedom, independence, and personal dignity.
Let no one doubt our abhorrence of violence, whoever the perpetrator. Peace will only be established when all violence is eradicated from both sides. If the present Road Map for Peace is to bring positive results, we believe the Separation Wall constitutes a grave obstacle. For both nations the Wall will result in a feeling of isolation. Moreover, for many Palestinians it means the deprivation of land (some 10% more than that of the Occupation in 1967), livelihood, statehood, and family life. Occupation remains the root cause of the conflict and of the continuing suffering in the Holy Land.
Take, for example, the proposed Separation Wall around Bethlehem, for us Christians, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. The consequences will be devastating to the Christian Community; not least the psychological impact on daily life. The community will be isolated following the deprivation of access to land and freedom of movement. Visits of pilgrims will be further discouraged.
We appeal to both Authorities – Israeli and Palestinian – and to all Peace-loving peoples around the world (who should make urgent contact with their leaders, both political and religious) – in an effort to remove this impediment to a comprehensive and lasting Peace.
Jerusalem, 26th August 2003
+ Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
+ Patriarch Torkom II, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
Fr. Giovanni Battistelli, O.F.M., Custos of the Holy Land
+ Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem
+ Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem
+ Abba Cuostos, Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem
+ Riah Abu El Assal, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem
+ Munib A. Younan, Lutheran Evangelical Bishop of Jerusalem
Archimandrite Mtanious Haddad, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarch in Jerusalem
+ Butros Malki, Syrian Catholic Bishop in Jerusalem
Further statements from the Heads of Churches and Christian Communities in Jerusalem are available in Jerusalem Testament: Palestinian Christians Speak, 1988-2008 by Melanie May (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2010)