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Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem urge all to pray and work "so that God may grant wisdom to move towards a better future, so that the Palestinian people may be granted the right to self-determination, state building and prosperity, and allow all the peoples of this land to live in peace, dignity and prosperity". The appeal comes on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Nakhba, the forced exodus of the Palestinian Arab people during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed the foundation of the State of Israel. An anniversary – stresses a message released by the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem "that the children of our Churches share with the rest of the Palestinian people".
In the statement, the Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem reaffirm their commitment "to achieve a just and lasting peace in our land, the Holy Land".
More than 700,000 Palestinians left towns and villages during the Nakba, an expression that means "catastrophe" in Arabic. The dispute over the fate of those Palestinian refugees and the "right of return" of their descendants remains at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"Our faith", the Church leaders emphasize "teaches us that we are all brothers and sisters in humanity and that we must unite and work together to achieve peace, tolerance and justice. Christianity has taught us that love, mercy and mutual respect are the way to achieve peace in the world, and this is especially true for our beloved Holy Land".
Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem recall that "justice and peace" are "the key to stability and prosperity in the region", and confirm their willingness "to work with all interested parties to achieve these noble goals". The statement also reiterated the need to "preserve the Holy Places and the rules of the 'status quo', under Hashemite protection, and strive to achieve a lasting and just peace in the region based on international legitimacy and United Nations resolutions". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2023)