Vatican body asks UN to 'end Israeli occupation'
In final statement of two-week conference, bishops' synod
urges international community to take 'necessary legal steps to put an
end to the occupation of the different Arab territories'
Reuters Published: 10.23.10, 14:00 / Israel News
Israel cannot use the Biblical concept of a promised land or a
chosen people to justify new "settlements" in Jerusalem or territorial
claims, a Vatican synod on the Middle East said on Saturday.
In its concluding message after two weeks of meetings, the synod of
bishops from the Middle East also said it hoped a two-state solution
for peace between Israel and the Palestinians
could be lifted from dream to reality and called for peaceful conditions that would stop a Christian exodus from the region.
"We have meditated on the situation of the holy city of Jerusalem. We
are anxious about the unilateral initiatives that threaten its
composition and risk to change its demographic balance," the message
US-brokered peace talks have stalled since Israel rejected appeals to
extend a temporary moratorium on settlement construction in the West
Bank that expired last month.
Since the freeze expired, Israel has announced plans to build another
238 homes in two east Jerusalem neighborhoods, drawing the
condemnation of Palestinians and world leaders.
In a separate part of the document -- a section on cooperation with
Jews -- the synod fathers also took issue with Jews who use the Bible
to justify settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured in
"Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable," the document said.
Many Jewish settlers and right-wing Israelis claim a biblical
birthright to the West Bank, which they call Judea and Samaria and
regard as a part of historical, ancient Israel given to the Jews by
Asked about the passage at a news conference, Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, said:
"We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the
Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women
of all countries have become the chosen people.
"The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the
justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of
Palestinians," he added. "The justification of Israel's occupation of
the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures."
The synod's concluding message repeated a Vatican call for Jerusalem
to have a special status "which respects its particular character" as a
city sacred to the three great monotheistic religions -- Judaism,
Christianity and Islam.
Jerusalem remains a key issue of dispute. Palestinians want east
Jerusalem for capital of a future state. Israel has annexed the area, a
move never recognized internationally, and has declared Jerusalem to
be its "united and eternal" capital.
Israel did not include east Jerusalem as part of its 10-month building
freeze, though most plans there were put on hold in March, when the
U.S. protested reports of a new housing project leaked during a visit
by Vice President Joe Biden.
East Jerusalem was also captured by Israel in 1967.
While recognizing "the suffering and insecurity in which Israelis
live" and the need for Israel to enjoy peace within internationally
recognized borders, the document was much more expansive and detailed
on the situation of Palestinians.
It said Palestinians "are suffering the consequences of the Israeli
occupation: the lack of freedom of movement, the wall of separation
and the military checkpoints, the political prisoners, the demolition
of homes, the disturbance of socio-economic life and the thousands of
It urged Christians in the region not to sell their homes and
properties. "It is a vital aspect of the lives of those who remain
there and for those who one day will return there."
It condemned terrorism "from wherever it may proceed" as well as
anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and discrimination against Christians.
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
Bishop Accountability Org
MESSIAH IN BOTH TESTAMENTS- FRED JOHN MELDAU-1967 CLASSIC