25/08/06, full text: The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism; Statement by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches In Jerusalem
25 August 2006. 11:52:7
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)
CHRISTIAN ZIONISM is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist programme provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.
We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.
We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.
We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!
We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements. The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.
We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:
We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.
We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together within peace, justice and security.
We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.
We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.
We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.
With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building.
God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.
"What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
This is where we take our stand. We stand for justice. We can do no other. Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for 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.
"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Cor 5:19)
His Beattitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad,
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal,
Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
Bishop Munib Younan,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
August 22, 2006
Source: The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
"You will not fly today!" - Bishop Riah denied his human rights at Tel Aviv Airport
I was scheduled to leave Tel Aviv on Swiss Air flight number 255D at 15:55 this afternoon. I proceeded as usual to the baggage and security clearance area. After asking me both relevant and non-relevant security questions, the young woman security officer concluded by questioning why I did not have an Israeli visa even though I was carrying an Israeli passport!!
Then she let me put my bags on the conveyor belt so that they could be screened, after decorating both bags and my passport with blue and green stickers. Then I saw her rushing to a supervisor who ordered the belt stopped. Approaching me he asked, "English or Hebrew?" I responded, "Please, Arabic". Arabic is one of two official languages of the State of Israel and I knew that it was my right in this "oasis of democracy" to make that official request.
Because I refused to speak other than Arabic, because I informed them that I am an Arab-Palestinian-Christian, and because down deep I knew that their behavior was designed to humiliate me, I insisted in conversing with them in the language I master which is Arabic, my mother tongue. At that point, Tal Vardi, the Security Duty Manager also showed up and insisted on speaking in any language other than Arabic. I refused. An Arab from Nazareth who happened to be present offered to translate when Mr. Vardi turned his back and turned toward me only to say, "You will not fly today!"
I called Mr. Caesar Marjieh, Director of the Department for Christian Communities who tried his best to assist me, but he did not succeed. I waited two hours thinking that someone with enough courtesy and good judgment would come, but to no avail. I had no alternative but to return to Jerusalem and inform my friends who were expecting me in Geneva today and London tomorrow of the situation. Later in the week I will file a suit in the High Court against the Security Duty Manager and his staff for violating my civil rights without cause.
My indignation is not for me, but it is for all people in occupied territories who face this kind of oppression and humiliation every day of their lives. This happened to an Anglican Bishop with special identification given him by the Department of the Interior and the Ministry of Religious Affairs. What do you imagine happens to others?
In, with, and through Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Riah H. Abu El-Assal
The Diocese of Jerusalem
Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria
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