End the Occupation: Mid-East bishops


Middle East Catholic bishops meeting at a special synod in Rome over the last fortnight have called for Israel to end the Occupation of Palestinian territories so that a two-state solution can be found.

The bishops are the ones who are familiar with the situation on the ground.

Here is an excerpt from their final joint communique:

IV. Cooperation and Dialogue with Our Fellow-Citizens, the Jews

8. The same Scriptures unite us; the Old Testament, the Word of God is for both you and us. We believe all that God revealed there, since he called Abraham, our common father in the faith, Father of Jews, of Christians and of Muslims. We believe in the promises of God and his covenant given to Abraham and to you. We believe that the Word of God is eternal.

The Second Vatican Council published the document Nostra aetate which treats interreligious dialogue with Judaism, Islam and the other religions. Other documents have subsequently clarified and developed the relationship with Judaism. On-going dialogue is taking place between the Church and the representatives of Judaism. We hope that this dialogue can bring us to work together to press those in authority to put and end to the political conflict which results in separating us and disrupting everyday life in our countries.

It is time for us to commit ourselves together to a sincere, just and permanent peace. Both Christians and Jews are called to this task by the Word of God. In his Word, we are invited us to listen to the voice of God “who speaks of peace”: “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his holy ones” (Ps 85:9). Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable. On the contrary, recourse to religion must lead every person to see the face of God in others and to treat them according to their God-given prerogatives and God’s commandments, namely, according to God’s bountiful goodness, mercy, justice and love for us.

V. Cooperation and Dialogue with Our Fellow-Citizens, the Muslims

9. We are united by the faith in one God and by the commandment that says: do good and avoid evil. The words of the Second Vatican Council on the relations with other religions offer the basis for the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Muslims: “The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men” (Nostra aetate 3).

We say to our Muslim fellow-citizens: we are brothers and sisters; God wishes us to be together, united by one faith in God and by the dual commandment of love of God and neighbour. Together we will construct our civil societies on the basis of citizenship, religious freedom and freedom of conscience. Together we will work for the promotion of justice, peace, the rights of persons and the values of life and of the family. The construction of our countries is our common responsibility. We wish to offer to the East and to the West a model of coexistence between different religions and of positive collaboration between different civilisations for the good of our countries and that of all humanity.

Since the appearance of Islam in the seventh century and to the present, we have lived together and we have collaborated in the creation of our common civilisation. As in the past and still existent today, some imbalances are present in our relations. Through dialogue we must avoid all imbalances and misunderstandings. Pope Benedict XVI tells us that our dialogue must not be a passing reality. It is rather a vital necessity on which our future depends (Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Representatives from the Muslim Communities, Cologne, 20 August 2005). Our duty then is to educate believers concerning interreligious dialogue, the acceptance of pluralism and mutual esteem.

VI. Our Participation in Public Life: An Appeal to the Governments and to the Political Leadership in Our Countries

10. We appreciate the efforts which have been expended for the common good and the service to our societies. You are in our prayers and we ask God to guide your steps. We address you regarding the importance of equality among all citizens. Christians are original and authentic citizens who are loyal to their fatherland and assume their duties towards their country. It is natural that they should enjoy all the rights of citizenship, freedom of conscience, freedom of worship and freedom in education, teaching and the use of the mass media.

We appeal to you to redouble your efforts to establish a just and lasting peace throughout the region and to stop the arms race, which will lead to security and economic prosperity and stop the hemorrhage of emigration which empties our countries of its vital forces. Peace is a precious gift entrusted by God to human family, whose members are to be “peacemakers who will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9).

VII. Appeal to the International Community

11. The citizens of the countries of the Middle East call upon the international community, particularly the United Nations conscientiously to work to find a peaceful, just and definitive solution in the region, through the application of the Security Council’s resolutions and taking the necessary legal steps to put an end to the occupation of the different Arab territories.

The Palestinian people will thus have an independent and sovereign homeland where they can live with dignity and security. The State of Israel will be able to enjoy peace and security within their internationally recognized borders. The Holy City of Jerusalem will be able to acquire its proper status, which respects its particular character, its holiness and the religious patrimony of the three religions: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. We hope that the two-State-solution might become a reality and not a dream only.

Iraq will be able to put an end to the consequences of its deadly war and re-establish a secure way of life which will protect all its citizens with all their social structures, both religious and national.

Lebanon will be able to enjoy sovereignty over its entire territory, strengthen its national unity and carry on in its vocation to be the model of coexistence between Christians and Muslims, of dialogue between different cultures and religions, and of the promotion of basic public freedoms.

We condemn violence and terrorism from wherever it may proceed as well as all religious extremism. We condemn all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism and Islamophobia and we call upon the religions to assume their responsibility to promote dialogue between cultures and civilisations in our region and in the entire world.

The full text of the bishops’ communique can be found at the AsiaNews.it website.

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Major (Rtd) D.Swami
2 Nov 2010 8.35am

“No one in India or Pakistan ever claim that their land were taken by force, the way Israelis did and still doing to the Palestinians”. You have no idea of Indian history. Your knowledge of history is a joke! India was attacked and conquered by Muslims. They slaughtered 80 million Hindus. So the creation of Pakistan for the descendants of Muslim genocidal maniacs is acceptable? Remember they were Arabs, Persians, Mongols and many others. They were never Indians.There was no state called Pakistan, it was artificially created. See this video clip here: http://7rangers.blogspot.com/2010/03/muslim-conquest-of-india-genocide-of.html

26 Oct 2010 2.32pm

No one in India or Pakistan ever claim that their land were taken by force, the way Israelis did and still doing to the Palestinians.

About rape and slaughter, you conveniently forgot to include the treatment of indeginious people of USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc. Not to mention the Spanish inquisition.

26 Oct 2010 5.06am


26 Oct 2010 5.04am

THE SAME ILLOGIC AND ISLAMIC FASCISM THAT LED TO RAPE AND SLAUGHTER IN SUDAN, KURDISTAN, BANGLADESH, NORTH AFRICA, EAST TIMOR, ARMENIA, ETC. =============================================== 1. Land of their ancestors??? Imagine if this rule applied consistently accross the globe…!!! Why special treatment for the Zionist. 2. The muslim worldwide, historically have no problems living side by side with the Jews. The problem is the existence of Zionist (Jewish supremacist and racists) State. How could we legitimize racism by allowing such a racist state to exist? 3. The Palestinians have legal land ownership certificates at their hands. Whose law is to deny legitimacy… Read more »

25 Oct 2010 4.15pm

1. Land of their ancestors??? Imagine if this rule applied consistently accross the globe…!!! Why special treatment for the Zionist.
2. The muslim worldwide, historically have no problems living side by side with the Jews. The problem is the existence of Zionist (Jewish supremacist and racists) State. How could we legitimize racism by allowing such a racist state to exist?
3. The Palestinians have legal land ownership certificates at their hands. Whose law is to deny legitimacy of their claim.
4. Ahmadinejad never show enmity towards Jews or Judaism, in words and deeds. He, rightfully, detests Zionism.

25 Oct 2010 2.09pm

The never ending problem at Middle-east and people’s suffering has shown that God has failed the human race.

27 Oct 2010 7.43pm
Reply to  Jinjang

It is people who do not regard, respect nor hold true, God’s Words as the ultimate commandment and instructions for peaceful, productive and mutual coexistence among fellow humans. Their desires to twist God’s Words to their favor for political, cultural, economic and social advantage and world power are too huge to control within the norms and acceptance of humanity. Take Iranian President Ahmedinejad as a classic example of self proclaimed religious and political figurehead for the masses. He can start a 3rd World War any minute if given the nob by the global mobs of insanity and carnage. But God… Read more »

25 Oct 2010 9.41am

Firstly Anil, u and the Bishops have to acknowledge with the fact that the Palestians and the Arab world do not want a “two state solution”.
They want the state of Israel to “cease to exist” (or whatever bombastic words Ahmadinejad used).
So maybe the Bishops first need to get the them to agree to the two state solution and acknowledge the right of the Israelis to live in the land of their ancestors before the peace process can actually commence.

25 Oct 2010 10.50am
Reply to  sarah

Where does the right to exist include stealing land from others? Imagine the Orang Asli in Malaysia taking over your home using the same excuse.

Israel needs to start following international law and abide by the all the UNSC resolutions.

21 Aug 2012 12.47am
Reply to  SunnyOoi

Israel was created by the UN in 1947 and when Israel declared Independence May 15 1948, the whole Arab world attacked Israel, refusing to recognise Israel.

24 Oct 2010 11.56pm

Don’t be a bloody hypocrite ANIL. When Christian Sudanese were being massacred where was the Vatican ? When Syria and Hizbullah were destroying Lebanon reducing the Christian Maronite population, where was the Vatican ? When Indonesia massacred 70,000 East Timorese in the 1970s and 1980s, where was the Vatican ? When Pakistani Christians are being raped and set on fire by Pakistani Sunnis, where was the Vatican ? When the Allah issue came up in Malaysia and Perkasa continues to spew Nazi-like rhetoric, where was the Vatican ? And, finally, when 6 Million Jews were slaughtered in Europe, where was… Read more »

27 Oct 2010 10.22pm
Reply to  Maz

It was written in the Bible thousands of years before current events are unfolding right before our very eyes with the convenience of the Internet. It was written to forewarn the faithfuls/believers that these nasty things of atrocities and religious persecutions will ascend upon them, BUT their faith must be as strong as the martyrs facing the hungry lions in the Roman Colosseum. God knows every man’s intention as far back as the first man to walk the earth. God does not intend that men fight against men, destroying his own creation but against principalities of darkness in our midst.… Read more »

24 Oct 2010 6.37pm

Anilnetto, notice your spelling error: excerpt and not except