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Christian letter

[Fwd: Letter from Christian Communities in the Holy Land] (fwd)

>>from Members of English-Speaking Christian Communities in the Holy Land
>>U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
>> U.S. State Department
>> 2202 C Street NW
>> Washington DC 20520
>> Dear Mr. Secretary,
>> "... No one can remain indifferent to the injustice of which the
>> Palestinian
>> people have been victims for more than fifty years. No one can contest
>> the
>> right of the Israeli people to live in security. But neither can
>> anyone forget
>> the innocent victims who on both sides fall day after day under the
>> blows of
>> violence. Weapons and bloody attacks will never be the right means for
>> making a political statement to the other side. Nor is the logic of the
>> law of
>> retaliation capable any longer of leading to paths of peace." John Paul II
>> (January 10, 2002)
>> We, the undersigned, have experienced and can attest to the truth of these
>> words of Pope John Paul II. We are members of several English-speaking
>> Christian communities in the Holy Land who have been living in Israel
>> and in
>> the Occupied Territories. Our length of residence ranges from six
>> months to
>> twenty years. We represent a number of English-speaking nationalities,
>> predominantly American but also many others, and a wide variety of
>> backgrounds and professions. We include students and professors, parents
>> and clergy, US government/ USAID personnel, heads/personnel of American
>> and other non-governmental aid agencies, international diplomats,
>> officials
>> working for UN agencies and health and education professionals.
>> We are writing to you out of a deep concern and urgency. The violent and
>> horrible events in this land have escalated in recent weeks. America is
>> deeply involved in this conflict both as a broker of the peace process
>> and as
>> a supplier of weapons. The increased violence has underscored the
>> failure of
>> successive American administrations to implement defined policies for the
>> resolution of this conflict.
>> Twenty-five years have passed since President Sadat visited Jerusalem and
>> opened the way to the Camp David peace process. Camp David was
>> eventually succeeded by the Oslo Accords, then the Wye River Agreement,
>> and more recently by the Mitchell and Tenet reports. None of these
>> agreements have been implemented. A generation of Israeli and Palestinian
>> youth has grown up observing the lack of political will of the United
>> States
>> government to implement our defined policies for the Middle East.
>>Moderates on both sides of this conflict have been marginalized and
>>discredited by
>>the failure to bring about a just and lasting peace. Both the Israeli
>>creation of
>> "facts on the ground", and the terror attacks against innocent
>> civilians, have
>> succeeded in delaying the timeframe and in presenting further obstacles to
>> the search for a just and lasting peace.
>> The US government has accepted such negative developments with apparent
>> equanimity. It has capitulated to the demands and excesses of the
>> extremists and radicals on both sides who have no interest in peace and
>> reconciliation. To date, it has failed to address the major cause of the
>> problem - the oppressive and illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
>> The legitimate human and civil rights of the Palestinian people and
>> their right
>> to their own national homeland have been denied - rights that most peoples
>> of the earth enjoy and take for granted. Palestinians daily face the
>> expropriation of their land and the unrelenting construction on this
>> land of
>> Israeli settlements and settlement roads. Over the last 18 months ordinary
>> Palestinians have also suffered under the Israeli 'closures' and
>> military siege,
>> which have cut them off from their places of employment, study, basic
>> health-
>> care and families.
>> During this period, our Christian communities have seen the horrific
>> effects of
>> the work of suicide-bombers and other militants on the people and
>> cities of
>>Israel, and some have narrowly escaped injury in such incidents. Some
>> among us, however, can also testify to having personally eye-witnessed a
>> wide range of violations of Palestinian basic human rights and personal
>> freedoms by the Israeli authorities, including:
>> * house demolitions with families made homeless;
>> * uprooting of ancient olive and citrus groves on which multiple
>> families are
>> dependent for their livelihoods;
>> * families cowering in terror as US-manufactured missiles shower down
>> indiscriminately on civilian areas from US-manufactured Apache helicopters
>> and F-16 bombers, or from Israeli tanks;
>> * shelling of buildings right beside foreign diplomatic and UN offices in
>> Ramallah and Gaza, recklessly endangering their international and other
>> staff;
>> * indiscriminate shootings by IDF soldiers at checkpoints of civilians,
>> including children, women, the elderly and the disabled; as well as
>> firing of
>> tear gas at such people crossing the checkpoints on foot by young,
>> seemingly bored or frightened IDF recruits;
>> * severe harassment and physical abuse of Palestinians of all ages at such
>> checkpoints;
>> * inappropriate handling of young Arab women at these locations;
>> * regular obstruction of teachers and students trying to reach schools and
>> universities;
>> * harassment and obstruction of ambulances trying to carry emergency
>> cases to hospital and blocking of UNRWA and other humanitarian relief
>> operations. Similar incidents of this kind have been widely reported
>> on by
>> almost all the main Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights
>> and
>> humanitarian organizations.
>> All the members of our Christian communities unequivocally condemn and
>> reject terrorism and violence as a means of advancing the political
>> cause of
>> the Palestinians, and fully recognize the right of the Israeli people
>> to live in
>> peace and security in their own state. Our experience here also helps us
>> understand why, in their desperation, some young Palestinians see no other
>> options available to them and nothing for them to live for. The US
>> Administration has focused predominantly on the admittedly horrific and
>> unacceptable violence of the Palestinian militants against Israelis but
>> it has
>> given insufficient attention both to the causes of Palestinian
>> militancy and
>> terror, and the daily terror and war that Israel is inflicting with
>> impunity on the
>> largely civilian Palestinian population. This has, not surprisingly,
>> led to the
>> emergence of a strong sense of moral outrage on the part of the
>> majority of
>> Arabs and Muslims worldwide. It has also generated a major questioning
>> among millions of people of conscience internationally of the credibility,
>> impartiality and moral authority of the US government and its policies.
>>This in turn has contributed significantly to the hostility felt by many
>> internationally towards the US, its government and its citizens.
>> There is an urgent need for the resolution of this conflict. There is
>> a solution
>> possible, but it is neither a military one, nor a terrorist one. The
>> parameters
>> of the solution have been clearly delineated and the vision spelled out
>> by you
>> yourself, Mr. Secretary, in Louisville, and by President Bush at the UN.
>>They are expressed in US-sponsored Security Council Resolution 1397, a very
>> welcome initiative indeed; and also in the proposals recently set forth by
>> Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and, most tantalizingly of all,
>> in the
>> Taba talks that ended in January last year, which brought the two sides to
>> the brink of an historic breakthrough on most of the highly complex and
>> deeply entrenched issues dividing the two sides. It is no longer
>> appropriate to
>> discuss proposals about interim solutions or arrangements. These interim
>> policies have been the framework under which Israel has extended and
>> expanded its illegal presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The US
>> government has been a proponent of a two-state solution to the Israeli-
>> Palestinian conflict. Now is the time for the US government to operate
>> within
>> the rubric of the United Nations and to finalize a settlement to this
>> conflict in
>> accordance with Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397. This is a period in
>> history
>> that requires clear policy definition, firm political will, and
>> consistency in
>> action by the US government. The US government needs to display a type of
>> "tough love" that links funding assistance with policy decisions that
>>express its concern for all the peoples of this land.
>> We welcome General Zinni to Jerusalem and recognize the very severe
>> obstacles he faces. We express the fervent hope that he will continue to
>> receive the firm political backing, and strong, balanced mandate he needs
>> from the top levels of his Administration in order to broker a just and
>>lasting peace. It is the consensus of the undersigned members of our
>> communities that the only way to achieve success will be a firm, even-
>> handed approach exerting equal pressure on both parties to halt the
>>violence and provocation. The presence of international observers is
>>also crucial
>> > achieving this halt to violence and facilitating the return to
>> > Necessary also is a simultaneous move to develop the political dimension,
>> through the implementation of the Mitchell Report and the resumption of
>> status negotiations. To demand that President Arafat deliver a unilateral
>> cease-fire while the closures remain firmly in place and Israeli military
>> offensives and provocation continue, cannot and will not succeed. In the
>> interests of the Israeli people who are suffering so much from the
>>conflict, the
>> United States must also persuade the Israeli government to play its
>> part, by
>> implementing parallel measures to lift the military and economic siege and
>> by progressing toward finalizing negotiations. Consistency of will to move
>> beyond the rhetoric of US policy and to implement its stated goals will
>> restore the credibility to the peace process and to the role the US
>> government seeks to play as the honest broker of the peace process.
>> As people of faith, committed to the struggle for peace, justice and
>> reconciliation, we are convinced that greed and arrogance, violence and
>> death, will not have the final word. We have a deep love for this Land
>> and for
>> all of its people. Our experience here has taught us to make our own this
>> simple insight from John Paul II: One against the other, neither
>> Israelis nor
>> Palestinians can win the war. But together they can win the peace. We
>> hope and pray that all sides in this present conflict come to the same
>> recognition.
>> Members of English-Speaking Christian Communities in the Holy Land 25
>> March 2002
>> Encl: Signatories to the Open Letter
>> English speaking Catholic Community of Jerusalem
>> Rev. Donald J. Moore, S.J., acting pastor, professor of theology
>> Rev. Charles H. Miller, R.C. priest, administrator
>> Rev. Robert Fortrin, Jerusalem, R.C. Priest, administrator
>> Niamh Gallagher, student
>> Maeve Gallagher, student
>> Teresena Gallagher, Lecturer
>> Sr. Mary K. Milne, O.S.U., Journalist
>> Evie McNally, student
>> Carolina Aznar, Jerusalem, graduate student
>> Kathleen Pierson, Bethany, recreation director
>> Michael Humpheys, Lt. Colonel, Australian Army
>> Jillian Kearns, Lawyer, Australia
>> Tom McNally, East Jerusalem
>> Denis Gallagher, Development consultant to USAID
>> Marie Andre Mitchell, R.C. sister
>> Daragh McNally, student
>> Isolde Moylan, diplomat, Ramallah
>> Maureen McElhattan, Jerusalem
>> Andrea Rogers, Jerusalem
>> Donald J. Rogers, administrator
>> David Burrell, C.S.C., priest, professor
>> Sr. Susan Sheehan, D.C., administrator
>> Sr. Norma More, D.C., therapist for handicapped children
>> Dennis Hamm, S.J., professor of scripture
>> Tom Fitzalan-Howard, British Defense Attache
>> Jo Fitzalan-Howard, Interior designer
>> Tom Neu, East Jerusalem,
>> Patricia Neu, planning and evaluation manager
>> Debbie Santalese, formerly East Jerusalem, office manager
>> Lutheran Church of the Redeemer English-speaking Congregation, Jerusalem
>> The Rev. Susan P. Thomas, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer,
>> Jerusalem
>> The Rev. Michael P. Thomas, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer,
>> Jerusalem
>> Christopher Doyle, Presbyterian Church USA missionary, Bethlehem
>> Hala Doyle, Presbyterian Church USA missionary, Bethlehem
>> The Rev. David Selzer, Episcopal priest
>> Ann E. Miller, RN, nurse practitioner
>> Mark Frey, Christian Peacemaker Team, peacemaker
>> Peter Holland, OXFAM-Quebec
>> Kate Moynihan, Roman Catholic, working for a US NGO
>> The Rev. Andrew Bush, Minister with the United Bible Society, Bir Zeit,
>>west Bank
>> Karen M. Bush, midwife, Red Crescent Hospital, Ramallah
>> Bethany G. Bush, student, age 15, The Friends' Boys School, Ramallah
>> The Rev. Marthame Sanders, Presbyterian mission worker, Zababdeh,
>> Ms. Elizabeth Sanders, Presbyterian mission worker, Zababdeh, Palestine
>> Bob May, United Methodist missionary, Bethlehem
>> Nancy Dinsmore, Development Officer, Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
>> The Rev. Christine Caton, Christian Peacemaker Team, Hebron, Presbyterian
>> minister
>> Bret Davis, human rights worker
>> Rebekah Miles, student
>> The Rev. Mary Lawrence, United Methodist minister, Christian Peacemaker
>> LeAnne Clausen, human rights worker, Christian Peacemaker Team
>> Chris George, Jerusalem
>> Karin Boyadgian, Jerusalem
>> Alain Epp Weaver, Director, Christian Development Agency
>> Sonia Weaver, Co-Director, Christian Development Agency
>> Heather Britt, International development and aid worker
>> The Rev. Susan P. Wilder, St. Andrew's Scots' Memorial Church, Jerusalem
>> Shane McNally, volunteer
>> Tony Boyadgian, Tour guide in the Holy Land
>> Kathleen Kern, human rights activist
>> The Rev. Mary Jensen, journalist, Jerusalem
>> Karin Hallin, recently a student in Jerusalem, now in Sweden
>> Seth Thomas, student, Jerusalem
>> Elaine Zoughbi, Bethlehem
>> Zoughbi Zoughbi, Wi'am Center for Reconciliation, Bethlehem
>> St. Andrew's Scottish Church, Jerusalem
>> Rizek Abusharr, YMCA
>> Gang Tai-Yum, Director of Joy House Kindergarten
>> Alice Alouohem, housewife
>> Margarita Claesson, eye surgeon
>> John Brownridan, retired
>> Yvonne Grogev, student
>> Glenn Witmer, professor
>> Joyce Wilson, minister
>> Ann V. Staal, teacher
>> Thomas H. Staal, diplomat
>> Sara J. Bailey, editor
>> Len Wilson, administrator YMCA
>> Magda Zaher, CPA
>> Joan Musgrave, Scottish Church
>> Chi Chang-Yim, Joy House Kindergarten
>> Catriona Lalhlan, church volunteer
>> Clarence Musgrave, Minister, Scottish Church
>> Kay Munayer, sales manageress
>> Sophie Sarikas, retired
>> Bethlehem University
>> Br. Cyril Litecky, administrator, educator
>> Br. David Scarpa, educator
>> Br. Joseph Loewenstein, religious educator
>> Br. Mark Boyle, teacher
>> Br. Neil Kieffe, educator
>> Br. Dominic Smith, educator
>> Br. Myron Collins, educator
>> Pontifical Biblical Institute, Jerusalem
>> Thomas Fitzpatrick, S.J., Director
>> Agnelo Vaz, S.J., administrator
>> St. George's College, Jerusalem
>> E. Ross Jones, Dean, priest
>> Gwin Jones, lecturer
>> Notre Dame de Sion
>> Maureen Murphy, teacher
>> Carina Arnold, nurse
>> > Benigna Hwang, religious
>> Coran Hedley, teacher
>> Gertrude Nabuurs, teacher, administrator
>> Ellen Knox, religious
>> Irailde Maria Ferreira, social worker
>> Jane Taylor, Writer
>> Peter Dorfield, R.C. priest
>> Ellse Heinrich, housewife
>> Sylvia Marchant, secretary
>> Rita Kammermayer, teacher
>> Vicky Vargas Saenz, religious
>> The following have sent by email their support of the letter:
>> Dr. James R. Kelly, Professor of Sociology, Fordham University, NY
>> Rev. Jack Podsiadlo, SJ, priest and school administrator, Baltimore, MD
>> Cathie and Lenny Sclafani, teachers and church workers, Flushing, NY
>> > Dr. Astrid O'Brien, prof of Philosophy, Fordham University, NY
>> Rev. William McCurdy, SJ, Jesuit priest and administrator, Rochester, NY
>> Raymond Helmick, SJ, senior associate Conflict Analysis Center,
>> Washington DC
>> Rev. John Dear, SJ, writer and peace activist, NYC
>> Rev. Francis Gillespie, SJ, parish priest and pastor
>> Rev. Michael Lynch, SJ, social councelor, NYC
>> Sr. Mary Angela Perez, RSM, religious administrator, Guam, Pacific Islands
>> Francis McCormick, U.S. Foreign Service (ret)
>> Dr. Julia Specher-McLaughlin, child psychiatrist, Red Hook, NY
>> Chris McLoughlin, sales representative, Red Hook, NY
>> Sharon Herbert, archeologist (U of Michigan), Albright Institute
>> Jose Vicente Niclos, teacher of Spanish Hebrew U,
>> Janet Williams, retired health professional, MA, USA
>> Dr. Maria Khoury, education consultant, Taybeh-Ramallah,
>> Fr Labib KobTi, Arab American Community, San Francisco,
>> Fr Kevin McCaffrey, OP, librarian St Stephan's Priory, Jerus,
>> Eileen Hren, Palestinian Human Ridhts Monitorin Group, administrator, East
>> Jerus
>> Anthony Axe, OP, prof of archeology Ecole B, '93-97, Prior Blackfriars in
>> G.B.,
>> Henrietta Wiley, Albright Institute, grad student
>> Joseph C. Donnelly, KHS, NY,
>> Justin Taylor, SM, Catholic priest and writer
>> Fr Rick Van de Water, parish priest Jifna
>> Eduardo Nigore, Valencia Spain, Health professional
>> Joseph F. Lynch, retired CIA officer
>> Christopher Frechette, SJ, grad student, Harvard U
>> Dr. Yamada Shoh, Sendai, Japan, archeologist out of Harvard
>> Fr J. Carlos Coupeau, SJ, Gregorian University, Rome
>> James Schryver, archeologist
>> Maureen McCormack,nurse, Bronx, USA
>> Dr. Miguel Perez Fernandez, U of Grenada (Spain)
>> Dr. Josep Ribera, U of Barcelona
>> Prof. Julio Trebolle, former Director of Spanish Institute for Biblical
>>Archeological Studies, Jerusalem,
>> Prof Pablo Torijano. Facultad de Filologia,Universidad de Complutense de
>> Madrid.

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