The Coalition for Jerusalem has delivered a letter to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI through the Apostolic Delegation Office in Jerusalem today 9th May 2009.
Follows the full text:
Jerusalem, 6th May 2009
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,
Your visit to the Holy Land your Holiness comes, at a time when the indigenous people of this land, both Muslims and Christians are suffering under an extremely brutal military occupation. A great injustice has smothered this land over sixty years and the people, the victims, are Still suffering its ramifications today. Israel's continuing military occupation of Palestinian territories Since1967, has furthered this injustice by separating and isolating, discriminating against, killing, incarcerating, prohibiting the movement and access to the Holy places for prayer, blockading, starving and denying medical treatment of millions of Palestinians.
Over 3.5 million Palestinians are still living in refugee camps, waiting with patient desperation for the implementation of their human, ethical and moral right to return to their homes.
In this context, the Palestinians welcome your Holiness to the Holy Land hopeful that your visit will bring with it the justice and peace the Palestinians have been longing for; they have endured and dearly sacrificed in order to achieve the just peace.
Your Holiness, You will pray in Jerusalem, the City Holy to the three monotheistic religions and a source of spirituality for millions more. As a result of Israel's systematic policies that aim to turn Jerusalem into a Jewish capital of the Jewish State, Jerusalem is today rendered an isolated city though it is the home of over three hundred thousand Palestinians. These numbers and the high growth rate among the Christian and Muslim population of the city endangers the demographics and tries to ensure the maintenance of a Jewish majority. This in turn means that crimes of a routine nature like home demolitions, land and property confiscation, evictions, revocation of residency rights, high taxations, etc. are daily practices committed by Israel against the Palestinians in Jerusalem. Jerusalem today, and under the eyes and full knowledge of the International Community is witnessing yet another wave of Israel's ethnic cleansing crimes that continue since 1948.
Your Holiness, Bethlehem will be another Palestinian city that You will visit. This little town that was an open and accessible city for all to visit and pray in, is today encircled by an eight-meter cement Wall that not only imprisons some 186,000 Palestinians but has also impoverished a whole population that has always been prosperous and productive. The alarming rate of emigration among Christians in general and in Bethlehem in particular, is but another indicator of the deteriorating situation.
Your Holiness will also visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, a memorial that stands to remind us all of the brutality of the Human Being. We urge your Holiness that on this visit you will also remember and pay tribute to all the victims of the Second World War, the fifty five million that were killed as a result and not only the six million Jews.
We urge you to remember and pray for the Palestinians who are direct victims of this war. In asking for forgiveness for the atrocities committed by people in our
recent history, we are hopeful that your Holiness will speak out against the continuing atrocities that are committed against the Palestinian people.
We welcome You to Jerusalem and the Holy Land and trust that your Holiness will not forsake the Palestinian people who look up to you for help to lift this injustice and to achieve their sacred rights of freedom, independence and self determination.
Mathew 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
May your pilgrimage be also instrumental in bringing peace, love and good will to All!
The Coalition for Jerusalem