Oh Jerusalem

 “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. (John 4:20)
Called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy city"; by the modern Arabs El-khuds, meaning "the holy"; once "the city of Judah" #2Ch 25:28 This name originally in dual form which means "possession of peace," or "foundation of peace."

All terminologies refer to Jerusalem as the Holy city of GOD, the dual form which means “possession of peace” or the “foundation of peace” relates Peace with God All Mighty. The three monotheistic faiths believe in one God who is the creator of the universe and of humanity. We believe that this dignity is one and the same in each and all of us. In this Land in particular God created, so as NOT to engage in strife and conflict but rather we might come, know and love one another, and altogether build up the land in love and mutual respect.

We believe that our land has a universal mission. In this universality the meaning of the land, of the election, of the people of GOD open up to include all humanity, starting from all peoples of his land. In light of the teachings of the Holy Bible, the promise of the land has never been a political program but rather the prelude to complete universal salvation. God sent the patriarchs, the prophets and the apostles to this land so that they might carry forth a universal mission to the world. Today we constitute three religions in this land, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Our land is God’s land, as is the case with all countries in the world. It is holy in as much as God is present in it, for God alone is holy and sanctifier. It is the duty of those of us who live here, to respect the will of God for this land. It is our duty to liberate it from the evil of injustice and war.

It is God's land and therefore it must be a land of, peace and love. This is indeed possible. God has put us here as two peoples, and God gives us the capacity, if we have the will, to live together and establish in it justice and peace, making it in reality God's land: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it" (Ps. 24:1).

In reality it is the core issue of the conflict whereby instead of being an oasis of peace that contributes towards reducing the intensity of the conflict, it is becoming the spark that might trigger further dispute and create barriers in our hearts and minds.

Churches of Jerusalem have always affirmed the 2+3 solution whereby Jerusalem would be the capital for two states open for the three monotheistic faiths.

Unfortunately this remains farfetched due to Israeli Occupation practices. Since 1967 Israel has embarked upon major changes to the character of Jerusalem. In essence these changes are designed to reduce the number of Palestinians in the city and to increase the Jewish population and thereby undermine Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem as the Capital of an independent Palestinian State. Means and tools have been diverse from Land confiscation, absentee law, withdrawing and denying residency rights, imposing taxes in arrears, home demolitions to even denying visas to clergy.

Even the freedom of worship as stipulated in article 18 of the universal declaration of human rights is not observed by Israeli occupation who deny worshippers access to Jerusalem and worship at the most significant places, Al Aqsa, and the Holy Sepulcher, in addition to heavy armed presence within the Church which has been observed lately.

Yet we still utter words of negotiations, peace, special envoys here and there. Quoting Late Faisal Husseini comparison of the “power of Logic” and the “logic of power” is being the only visible activity in place while politicians run around in circles and the spiritual, cultural and historic significance of Jerusalem is being compromised.

Our presence in this land as Christian and Muslim Palestinians is deeply rooted in history and geography of this land resonant with the connectedness of any other people to the land they live in. It was an injustice when we were driven out. The role of the Churches and Church institutions and organizations was there as we prayed and served refugees, hoping that it would be short termed but unfortunately it became a chronic illness with more than 60 years of suffering. 

Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity because it deprives the Palestinians of their basic human rights bestowed by God. It distorts the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier just as it distorts the image of Palestinians living under occupation, and any theology that legitimizes occupation is far from Christian teachings(Kairos).

Israeli occupation not only erected physical walls and barriers within the West Bank and isolated Jerusalem but they have built psychological barriers and walls in Palestinian hearts and minds.

Despite this our hope remains strong because it is from God. God alone is good, almighty and loving and his goodness will one day be victorious over the evil in which we find ourselves into.