04/11/2006, 00.00
HOLY LAND
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Mgr Sabbah calls on Israelis and Palestinians to stop hatred

In his Easter message, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem calls on the leaders of the two peoples to transform "in terms of life and peace the relations between the two peoples in this Holy Land."

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – In his Easter message released today Mgr Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, made a strong appeal to Jews and Palestinians, in particular to their leaders, to stop hating and believe in the power of love. Released today, the message says:

"You, who are killing, stop killing. You, who hate, stop hating. You, who occupy the land, give it back to its owners. Love and trust are more efficacious in reacquiring your lost freedom, your lost security, and your desired independence. Certainly, this language sounds strange to all those who hold power in their hands. Nevertheless, we also say to the governments: You, governments, who do not believe in this language, you also are capable of loving, of living, and of transforming in terms of life and peace the relations between the two peoples in this holy land. »

Patriarch Sabbah goes on to say that with Easter, "Jesus made each of us a new creature and a New Man 'in righteousness, holiness and truth' (Eph, 4: 23-24). He filled us with His Spirit, and 'the fruit of the Spirit,' says Saint Paul, 'is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and self-control' (Gal, 5: 22-23)."

But in "our daily life, we sometimes have the impression that the life of the Spirit, which produces charity, joy and peace, is an impossible dream, especially in our Holy Land which for many years has been witnessing hate, mutual rejection, and death. And, the actions of its leaders and the life of individuals and groups simply proceed according to this logic. Kill in order to live. Kill because we are being killed. Hate because we are afraid or because we are oppressed. These are the criteria according to which we are governed and we live in a holy land, in a land of the Resurrection, in a land in which God has spoken, and in which the three religions claim that they believe in God and listen to His word."

The message insists that although this is the reality in which Israelis and Palestinians live, the "land in which God has spoken" can "remain the land of the Word of God, and not become just the land of the word of human beings where God's Word is replaced by attitudes of death and hate.  We must believe in our capacity to love, all of us, Israelis and Palestinians. We are capable of loving and of making justice for ourselves and for others. We need a new beginning based on new principles and a new perspective on life in this Holy Land.  We are capable of freeing ourselves from the death that has been imposed on us until now. We, Israelis and Palestinians, are capable of freeing ourselves from the fear that comes from violence and terrorism, from the occupation imposed by the law of the strongest, and by the logic of death and hate."

"To all the inhabitants of this Holy Land, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Druzes, we wish you an abundance of the Lord's blessings. To the Jews, who are celebrating Passover in these days, we express the hope that the feast will be a source of blessing, love and justice for you and for all the inhabitants of the Holy Land."

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