I cristiani si congratulano con Hamas.

from: PalestinianChristians@yahoogroups.com
Date:    Wed, 15 Feb 2006 11:19:45 -0500
From:    David Virtue
Subject: JERUSALEM: Christian leaders issue statement on Palestinian

JERUSALEM: Christian leaders issue statement on Palestinian election

February 1, 2006

[ENS] The Rt. Rev Riah Abu El-Assal, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, joined 12
Christian leaders in Jerusalem in congratulating the Palestinian people "for
their democratic performance in the recent parliamentary elections," a
January 31 statement said.

The group, which includes Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem,
also prayed for "all those who will govern in this difficult period" that
they may be committed to "justice and peace." The full text of the statement

The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem

January 31, 2006

We congratulate the Palestinian people for their democratic performance in
the recent parliamentary elections. We express our respect and our support
to the will of the people expressed in these elections. We congratulate all
those who were elected.

Our message as Christian leaders in this new phase of our history is the
message of our faith and our concern for all. Some may be afraid or troubled
because of this new phase. We respond, first, with the words of Jesus
Christ: 'Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. Peace I bequeath to
you; my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give' (Jn.
14:27). Second, 'Be strong and stand firm' (Jos. 1:9). We call upon the
Palestinian people to continue their contribution to the making of their
history whatever may be the difficulties or obstacles, internal or external.

We pray for all those who will govern in this difficult period, and we
extend our cooperation to them for the public good and the national
Palestinian aspirations together with the cause of justice and peace in a
non violent way, whether in regard to foreign relations, the rule of law
together with full religious freedom, especially in the social and
educational fields.

Our message to the Government of Hamas, members and leadership, is the
message of Our Lord Jesus Christ in his Sermon on the Mountain: 'Blessed are
the poor in spirit: the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are the
gentle: they shall have the earth as their inheritance. Blessed are those
who mourn: they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for uprightness: they shall have their fill. Blessed are the
merciful: they shall have mercy shown them. Blessed are the pure in
heart: they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be
recognized as children of God' (Mt 5:3-10).

We ask God to guide us towards what is good for all and for this Holy Land
with all its inhabitants, Palestinians and Israelis, be they Moslems,
Christians or Jews.


* Patriarch Theophilos III: Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
* Patriarch Michel Sabbah: Latin Patriarchate
* Patriarch Torkom II: Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
* Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Gustos of the Holy Land
* Anha Abraham: Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate
* Swerios Malki Mourad: Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
* Abune Grima: Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
* Paul Nabil Sayyah: Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
* Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal: Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East
* Bishop Mounib Younan: Lutheran Evangelical Church
* Pierre Melki, Exarch for the Syrian Catholics-Jerusalem
* Andre Dikran Bedoghlyan: Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
* Archimandrite Mtanious Haddad: Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

[ENS] In an interview with Episcopal News Service, the Rt. Rev. Riah Abu
El-Assal, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, speaks about the relationship
between the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Jerusalem and responds to
the January 25 Palestinian elections, when the Islamic militant group,
Hamas, won a landslide victory.

Video and Audio Streams of the interview are available online at:

The following is a transcript of a meeting with the Episcopal News Service
and the Bishop of Jerusalem Riah El Assal: Jerusalem bishop brings message
following Palestinian elections

'Where are those Elijahs?'

[ENS] In an interview with Episcopal News Service, the Rt. Rev. Riah Abu
El-Assal, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, speaks about the relationship
between the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Jerusalem and responds to
the January 25 Palestinian elections, when the Islamic militant group,
Hamas, won a landslide victory.

Following is a full transcript of the interview, which is also available as
a video stream at:

ENS: The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Jerusalem have built  strong
relationships in recent years, whether through missionary  placement,
pilgrimage, personal encounters, or companion diocese  relationships, to
name but a few.

When the Islamic group, Hamas, won a landslide victory in the recent
Palestinian elections, it came as a shock to many. While the world --
including Israel -- comes to terms with the implications of Hamas' victory,
many Anglicans and Episcopalians are asking the question: what will this
mean for the dwindling Christian population in the Holy Land?

Bishop Riah, what brings you to New York?

EL-ASSAL: I'm here at the invitation of the Rev. Canon Dr. James Cooper of
Trinity Church on Wall Street whom we had the pleasure of making an honorary
canon at St. George's Cathedral [Jerusalem] on September 25, 2005. He asked
me to come and participate in the Trinity Church Institute on

ENS: Could you tell me about the relationship between the Diocese of
Jerusalem and the Episcopal Church?

EL-ASSAL: A number of projects have been supported by the Episcopal Church
of the United States, among them is the Jerusalem 2000 project, which was
initiated by the presiding bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury then,
George Carey.

We have the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem, a group
representative of the Episcopal Church from coast to coast that aims at
fundraising for different projects -- small projects, but good projects
-- at different institutions and parishes within the Diocese of Jerusalem.

We continue to welcome their people coming to take part in one of the
courses at St. George's College, for which we are greatly encouraged and we
appreciate them coming. But many of them come as pilgrims and as friends,
they come to visit us and stay with us. Next week, I expect to have someone
to come from California to stay with us in our home. So the relationship is
a cordial one; friendly.

We continue to support each other in prayer, the way we pray for the rest of
the Communion, if not for the whole world.

ENS: Turning to the recent Palestinian elections, how do you feel about
Hamas' victory?

EL-ASSAL: Well in the first place let me say that this vote was a vote
against and not a vote for, and what I mean by this is that it was a vote
against the American Administration, the Government of Israel and partly the
corruption of s
ome of the leaders of the previous leadership in Palestine.

ENS: How will this impact the Christian community in the Holy Land?

EL-ASSAL: In my opinion -- and this is my personal opinion -- it will not
make a big difference. On the contrary, now that the ball is in their court,
it's much easier to challenge them. This was a democratic election. The
international community, including also Israel and the American
Administration, insisted on elections, and these are the results. Either we
accept the results of democracy or stop talking about democratizing the
Palestinian community or the Middle East at large. It will not affect our
institutions. Perhaps we will have an easier way to them now to challenge
them that we are here to serve the community at large, and the community in
its majority is of the Muslim community. We may find it easier to speak to
them about issues of common interest for the Palestinian people. Certainly,
we will ask them also and encourage them, now that they have won the
election, to invest their victory in promoting all that would serve the
Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people and on top of this agenda
should be the question of peace and justice and freedom, and security for

ENS: What is the mood in Jerusalem right now?

EL-ASSAL: Before I left, we had a little meeting, both Christians and
Muslims, but Muslims of the Fatah group and my strategy was that we are
coming here to say, "Mabruk; congratulations; you won; now what's next. In
what way can we bridge the gap? In what way can we contribute to not
beautifying your image but to you trying to beautify the image of our people
and become serious about the search for peace, justice and reconciliation."

ENS: How do you regard Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist?

EL-ASSAL: I think it's a strategic mistake. Israel came about in accordance
with a United Nations resolution. The same resolution spoke of a Palestinian
state, side by side with Israel. I would understand if Hamas were to say we
are to implement the United Nations resolutions, whereby Israel would have
its share, the Palestinians would have their share. That would be understood
and appreciated. But to say that Israel has not place, in my opinion, will
not serve the cause of the Palestinians or of Hamas.

ENS: There has been some talk of enforcing sanctions on Palestine if it does
not renounce terrorism. Is this a fair course of action?

EL-ASSAL: Sanctions. We have those sanctions. What kind of support does
Palestine or the Palestinian people receive? Very little. The majority of
people live on one dollar a day. It's a poverty stricken community and if
they make them poorer than what they are today, then I fear for the future.
What we need to do and share with them rather than
sanctions: let's see how best we can work together.

ENS: You recently signed a joint statement with patriarchs and heads of
Christian churches in Jerusalem. Is this a testimony to strong ecumenical

EL-ASSAL: Yes, we are strengthening the ecumenical relations, but not only
the ecumenical relations with Christians, the ecumenical relations between
Christians, Muslims and Jews ... to see how best we can promote what is
spoken of as co-existence or co-living.

ENS: Is it fair to say that Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land have,
for the most part, maintained healthy relationships?

EL ASSAL: Indeed, for many, many years. Most of the Christians in Palestine
are Arabs, so the Arab Christians have something in common with the Muslims
of Palestine: both are Arabs and both are Palestinians. Whether they are
Muslims or Christians, the relationship has always been a good.

ENS: How do you view the future right now?

EL-ASSAL: As long as things continue to be the way they are on the
international level, it's a hopeless situation. The United Nations is not as
active. The Christian church, in its majority, is not as active as it should
be, the way it was with the apartheid system in South Africa. There are few
Elijahs. Where are those Elijahs; who will stand against the prophets of
Baal, who will endeavor to change the course of human history?

ENS: When you dream dreams, what do you see?

EL-ASSAL: I dream about a morning when I wake up and hear the good news that
the Israelis have resolved to put an end to the occupation of Palestinian
territories and that the Palestinians would rush to shake hands the way they
did when the Israelis pulled out the first time in the early 90s from Gaza.
There is so much in common between the Arab and the Jew. If they are
Semites, we are Semites. If they've been in the Diaspora, half of our people
are still in the Diaspora. They're in refugee camps and spread all over the
world. Is it not time for both communities to learn to live for a greater
cause than Israel or Palestine? A cause that will bring about the Holy Land
that we all desire to see?

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