From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Christians, Muslims and Jews Call for Justice for Palestinians

Date 28 Feb 2001 11:21:34

Contact the Rev. Naim Ateek, director
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
PO Box 49084
Jerusalem 91491
tel: 972-2-5327136
fax: 972-2-5327137

JERUSALEM, February 24, 2001--Following is the text of the final statement 
made by 400 persons, mostly from other countries, who attended the Sabeel 
Assembly that ended here today:

    We Christians, Jews, and Muslims from over 20 countries have come to 
Sabeel's Alternative Assembly in Palestine to stand in solidarity with our 
Palestinian brothers and sisters who are enduring the yoke of occupation.

    Sabeel is an ecumenical Christian center for Palestinian Liberation 
Theology, which seeks to make the Gospel contextually relevant.  Sabeel, 
which in Arabic means both "the way" and "spring of life-giving water", 
strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, 
liberation, and reconciliation for the different national and faith 
communities.  In doing so, it encourages us to work for a just, 
comprehensive, and enduring peace informed by truth.

    "We have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears..." the pattern of 
the pervasive control and domination by Israel which is causing widespread 
suffering and reflecting the injustices faced by the Palestinian people.  The 
Oslo "peace process" has failed.

    Deepening our understanding and gaining fresh insights, we can only 
conclude that peace is a real possibility if, and only if, justice is 
achieved. Toward this end, we affirm the timely Principles for a Just Peace 
in Palestine-Israel, that is, The Jerusalem Sabeel Document of May 2000.

    We therefore note with deep sadness that the failed "peace process" has 
resulted in:

    - Entrenching a new and harsh form of occupation of Gaza and the West 
Bank (which includes East Jerusalem). 

    - The occupation is violence.  

    - A dramatic increase in the expansion of settlements, construction of 
by-pass roads and control of territory by settlers, and other "facts on the 

    - Allowing, in practice, through closure and rapid settlement building in 
East Jerusalem, the isolation of Jerusalem from Palestinian life in Gaza and 
the West Bank, and her transformation into a closed city. 

    - A de facto apartheid system of Palestinian life in the Occupied 
Territories, with the populated areas carved up into "Bantustans". 

    - Gross violations of basic human rights, intensified in recent months. 

    - A new phase of extreme Israeli violence, including use of heavy 
artillery against civilians, causing over 15,000 injuries in addition to over 
400 deaths in only the last five months. 

    - Severe damage to the Palestinian economy while giving Israel control 
and domination over that economy. 

    - Further threat to the continued existence of the Christian community in 
Palestine by creating circumstances that encourage emigration.

The continued violence and control by Israel over an oppressed population 
presents the greatest risk to the state of Israel; justice is the only hope 
for Israelis and Palestinians.  Justice undergirds a durable peace, which 
will offer security for all in Palestine and Israel. 

A new and just process must be established which returns to the principles of 
international law, resulting in:

    The immediate implementation of the IV Geneva Convention, to which Israel 
and most of our countries are signatories, and which applies to the West Bank 
and Gaza, to be upheld by international peacekeepers. 

    Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, and 1322, 
which will terminate the occupation and its violence. 

    The return and compensation of all refugees who so choose, in accordance 
with UN Resolution 194.

Justice also requires an acknowledgement by Israel of al-Nakba (the 
Catastrophe, of 1948), followed by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as 
an instrument of healing.
We pledge ourselves to identify and then challenge the structures of 
domination in Israel and Palestine and in our own countries, including those 
that supply armaments as well as financial and political aid which supports 
the injustice in Palestine. 

We affirm our commitment to strive for the realization of a just peace, in 
solidarity with all who seek a just peace, based on our faith that all can be 
redeemed and reconciled in Christ. 

With Sabeel, We will stand for justice.  We can do no other.  Justice alone 
guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation and a life of security 
and prosperity to all the peoples of our land.  By standing on the side of 
justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace; and working for peace makes 
us children of God.  (The Jerusalem Sabeel Document)

Reports, papers, audio and pictures from the assembly will be added to 
Sabeel's website

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