Thursday, February 22, 2007

Palestinian bishop urges non-violence to tackle injustice

Here's some news I discovered on the Ekklesia news service.

Palestinian bishop urges non-violence to tackle injustice -16/02/07

Middle East Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan has urged Palestinians to "use brains, sanity, dialogue and non-violence and not arms to deal with differences".

Speaking at a conference called by non-governmental organizations and other agencies, Younan encouraged "democratic, non-violent strategies as the only way to achieve Palestinian goals of an end to the 40-year military occupation and the creation of an independent, viable state living side by side with Israel".

The conference began with speeches by the Islamic Chief Judge in territories under the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tamimi and Younan, who heads the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.

Bishop Younan told the group that recent infighting between Palestinians "is a sin and a shame on our people" and urged politicians and other leaders to listen to both those who agree with them, to the silent majority and to the voice of the opposition.

This, he said, was the only way to develop a "peaceful, non-violent strategy for justice and to build a common vision of a modern, civil, democratic society". He also urged the victims of the fighting to forgive and not to allow hatred and vengeance to overcome them.

Meanwhile, in Geneva, the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), the Rev Ishmael Noko, welcomed the 8 February agreement for a Palestinian unity government by Hamas and Fatah groups. Bishop Younan is a vice-president of the LWF.

In a statement on 14 February 2007, Noko commended the parties' flexibility in reaching "this essential compromise". He stressed that the Palestinian unity government to be established under the agreement "must be committed, in practice as well as in theory, to the realisation of a two-State solution to the longstanding crisis in the Middle East".

Its main and immediate priority "must be to pursue resumption of genuine negotiations with the State of Israel for the achievement of this end." Noko noted the essential role of the region's religious communities in ensuring the agreement's implementation with strong interfaith encouragement and support.

The Lutheran World Federation general secretary reminded the international community of its urgent responsibility to support the signed agreement, saying it has the task "to sustain hope in the Holy Land, for the sake of both Palestinians and Israelis, and indeed for the sake of the whole world"

With acknowledgments to Ecumenical News International (ENI) -

1 comment:

eileen fleming said...

It is hearts and minds in USA Congress and The White House that must be changed:

And only in Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world again."-Tom Paine



* While the rest of the world applauds the Palestinians for the ceasefire agreement reached in Mecca last week, the US has issued warnings to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas regarding a potential US boycott of the new unity government. Please let your representatives know that you are outraged that the US will not support measures towards peace in the Palestine and that it is Israel and not the Palestinians who refuse to recognize the rights of Palestinians to exist under international law. Tell your representatives that Palestinians from all political parties have agreed to respect UN resolutions and all decisions that have been made in previous Arab summits.

*Tell your representatives that you find it outrageous that the US is threatening to boycott the Palestinians on the basis of their truce and that you question whether the US was hoping for a civil war in the territories. Ask your representatives whether they support peace between Palestinians and Israelis or not, tell your representatives that a unity government is the first realistic step towards peace and that if they prefer to support chaos in the territories such a position will never lead to peace in the region. The current sanctions in occupied Palestine will not move the region towards peace, they will only continue to strangle the population and embolden groups who see no point in peace or non violence if their positions are not respected and the US continues to take support measures that would lead to a civil war in the Palestinian territories.

*Ask your representatives when they will begin applying pressure on Israel to end its occupation, remove settlements from the West Bank and Jerusalem and stop threatening Muslim holy sites. Remind your representatives that the Israelis have reneged on every single agreement that they have ever signed on to without a single rebuke from the US. Tell your elected officials that if they are serious about peace they would stop refusing to deal with a government that has the popular support of the Palestinian people and the Arab world.

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