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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Taking stock of the historic vote in the UN
to grant observer status to the Palestinian state
Patriarch Gregorios III says,
“The Palestinian case is my Arab Christian and Muslim cause”

Rabweh - Patriarch Gregorios III greatly appreciated the UN resolution granting observer status to the Palestinian state. He said: “Thank God, who waits but never forgets.” He also thanked the countries that voted for the resolution, whilst censuring countries voting against it, some of which seek to be in the defending vanguard of nations’ freedom and dignity.

“As Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem,” added Laham, “Palestine is part of my patriarchal territory. I was bishop and patriarchal vicar there in Jerusalem for twenty-six years, so I am overjoyed on this historic day, because Palestine is my Arab Christian and Muslim cause. I’d like to congratulate beloved Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for his courage, determination, consistency and reasoning- power. I’d like to congratulate the Palestinian nation and I hope that they will reunite around this recognition and work together for a better future. I repeat that resolving this Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key to peace, democracy and independence in the whole region, even to the Syrian crisis. The problem of emigration, especially Christian emigration, is directly related to resolving this conflict. I reiterate my position: there can be no peace in the Middle East without peace in Jerusalem; no peace in the world without the peace of Jerusalem, and without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“I should like to take this opportunity to invite Palestinians to dialogue. We hope this stage will be the preliminary to further stages. We should like to thank the international community for their decision and attitude, and we should like this purely legal measure to be imbued with the Spirit. Reconciliation is the spiritual guarantee for the letter of the law not to kill. (cf. 2 Corinthians 3: 6) What has happened today is not just a gift, but rather a right; plain justice and a step in the right direction. This is the real road map. We repeat our gratitude for the courage of the Palestinian President, who clearly demonstrated the existence of the state of Israel. In return, Israelis have to understand this bold, dignified message from President Abbas.

“We are persuaded that halting settlements in Palestinian territories would be an effective contribution towards negotiations, which should begin forthwith. The duty of the international community, especially the group of four, is to accompany this process to establish Palestinian rights.”

Source: Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate, Rabweh