By Mary Rizzo • May 17th, 2008
Pope Benedict described Israel’s 60th Independence Day as a sign of God’s beneficence toward the Jews.
“I would like to congratulate the State of Israel on its 60th Independence Day,” Yediot Achronot quoted Benedict as telling Motti Levy, the new Israeli ambassador to the Vatican, on Monday.
“The Holy See is united with you, and thanks God for the full realization of the Jewish people’s aspirations to live in its homeland, the land of its forefathers.”
In an interview with Israel Radio, Levy described meeting the pontiff as “very moving.”
According to Levy, Pope Benedict endorsed Israel’s right to self-defense but also appealed for an end to Palestinian suffering. He further voiced concern about the dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land.
Your Holiness Pope Benedict XIV,
Your Holiness, we are Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Haifa, Tiberius, Beit Jala and many other Palestinian cities, towns and villages. We have been completely uprooted from the place of our birth, our land and homes have been confiscated through Zionist terror since 1947/48 and today’s Israelis are still in the process of emptying the country where Christ was born and which saw the first community who followed his teachings of its Christian population.
418 Arab towns and villages inhabited by both our monotheist Muslim compatriot sisters and brothers and us, Palestinian Arab Christians, had been destroyed and emptied of its people.
We are afraid that there shall come a time in which the doors of the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and many others, shall be forced to remain locked because there shall be no Christian worshipers to pray in them, and the best use of them is to become museums.
We were shocked because at the time when Palestinian Christians and Muslims are commemorating the “Nakba”, their catastrophe, when about half of them were annihilated and/or uprooted from their land and homes to be replaced by mostly converted Jews, you congratulate the racist Zionist state of Israel upon its 60th anniversary, without any mention of the 60th “anniversary” of our Nakba. Sixty long years of exile, “diaspora”, pain, dispossession and displacement.
The state of Israel that was and has being neglecting and disdaining all United Nations’ resolutions starting with Resolution 194 – stating the need to implement the return of Palestinians to their homes and land and compensating them for their loses as a condition of the acceptance of the state of Israel to the membership of the United Nations, which was neglected and disobeyed.
Your Holiness, it is our heartfelt belief that you owe the Palestinian Arab people, including the members of the Church you guide, an apology, and that you recognize the importance of the Right of Return of Palestinian Arab people to their Land and homes, as per the UN Resolution 194.
With all our respect and appreciation.
Adib S Kawar
And following signatures
Please sign if you are a Palestinian Christian!