ASIA/HOLY LAND - The Catholic Bishops: the recognition of the "Aramean" nationality aims to divide the Palestinian Christians from others

Monday, 22 September 2014

Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - The decision of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior that Christian Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel can now change their registration in the Ministry from Arabs to "Arameans" is denounced as "an attempt to separate the Christian Palestinians from other Palestinians" by the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, who in a communiqué issued by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries denounce the spurious and ideological motivations of the measures taken in this direction by the Government of Israel.
As reported by the Israeli press, on 16 September, the Israeli Minister of the Interior signed a measure to recognize the identity of "Aramean" as a distinct national identity. The decision was made explicitly to allow 200 Christian families to identify themselves as belonging to the ancient nationality, so therefore register themselves as "Arameans" rather than as an Arab in identity documents.
The same document drawn up by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land, denounces how artificial and politically oriented operations push to recover in the remote past of the peoples of the Middle East a separate national identity, to be given to the Christians present in Israel: "the Aramaic language - reads the document, sent to Fides Agency - was adopted by the Jews for centuries. That is, until the reintroduction of Hebrew, only in the late 19th century. The Arabs, who live today in Greater Syria have spoken different languages over the centuries: Aramaic, Greek and Arabic. Today, we, in Israel, are Christian Palestinian Arabs. Some in the Israeli administration seem to think that separating Christian Palestinians from other Palestinians is a way to protect Christians, we say: give us back our homes, our properties, our villages that you have confiscated. Second: the best way to protect us is to keep us with our people. Third: the best protection for us is to seriously engage in walking path of peace".
The communiqué also contains an appeal to "the few Christian Palestinian Arabs in Israel who support this idea of changing their "Aramean" identity" or serving in the Israeli army: "Come back to your senses" reads the communiqué "do not harm your people because of idle promises and personal egoistic gain. By adopting such a position, you do not benefit yourselves nor do you benefit Israel. Israel is in need of Christians who have heard Jesus’ teaching: 'Blessed the peace makers'. Israel does not need Christians who have deformed their identity". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 22/09/2014)