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Latin Patriarchate — Jerusalem: Perspectives on the Conflict between Palestinians and Israelis

14 May 2002 – We believe in God, Almighty and merciful, who can do what men have not been able to do up until now. True peace is a gift which God alone can give. Therefore, we invite all believers to persevere in prayer and to remain strong in their faith and in their hope: one day, we will see better days in this land blessed by God, made holy by God, and regarded as holy by the three religions that live together in it, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

We mourn all the victims, Palestinians and Israelis. We share deeply the sorrow of their parents, their relatives and their friends. We are concerned for every human being. We are for the defence of every human life, of the dignity and the security of each and every human being, whether Palestinian or Israeli. We believe that only the ways of peace can lead to peace.

Present situation

  • The State of Israel exists and has the right to exist and to live in security. The State of Palestine does not exist still, yet it has the same right to exist and to live in security.

  • The State of Israel occupies territories of another. Palestinians are under Israeli military occupation, with all that that implies regarding the deprivation or limitation of freedom and suffering and humiliation.Palestinians have the right to see the end of Israeli military occupation of their territories, occupied in 1967, and to create on them their independent state. As long as the occupation lasts, they have the right and the duty to claim their land and their freedom and to organize resistance in order to reach this goal. But we affirm again, that in this resistance, only the ways of peace can lead to peace.
  • The root of the conflict

  • The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is not basically a question of Palestinian terrorism that threatens security or the existence of Israel. It is a question of Israeli military occupation that started in 1967, which provokes Palestinian resistance, which then threatens the security of Israel.To go on speaking about Palestinian terrorism, without seeing the right of the Palestinians to their freedom and to end the occupation, is condemning oneself not to see reality, and to remain impotent in reaching a solution.
  • Therefore, one must very simply take away the cause so that the effect, i.e. violence, exists no more. In vain one will struggle against the various expressions of violence through condemnations, reprisals or a declared war, but as long as the cause is there the effect will be there, as long as there is occupation, the cycle of violence will continue. On both sides, fighters and innocents will continue to be killed.
  • To put an end to occupation

  • As the cause of all violence is the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian lands, once the occupation is ended, violence will cease. If Israel has a sincere will to put an end to all violence, the way to take is not war or reprisals, but a rapid and serious action which puts an end to the occupation.Therefore, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the international community must return to negotiations, but in a new and sincere way, in order to put an end to occupation.
  • To put an end to violence

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