By Salim Nazzal
The synods for the Middle East which lasted two weeks in the Vatican, have issued an important document which supports the Palestinian right to live free in Palestine. The document signed by more than 180 bishops from the catholic churches and other churches invalidated the Jewish argument that they are exclusively chosen by God. The argument of the so called chosen people has been invested by the Jewish Zionist invaders to legalize the occupation of Palestine and the uprooting of most of its native inhabitants.
Pope Benedict XVI addressed the synod by stressing that decent life is a right for all citizens to call for the consolidation of tolerance, and coexistence.
The document has cast out the zionist argument which uses the bible to authenticate its occupation. It makes it crystal clear that the bible cannot be used to inflict pain, occupation, or injustice on Palestinians.
The synod was held to debate the situation of the Arab Christians which has been diminishing particularly since the Zionist invasion in 1948 which destroyed thousands of years of established Palestinian Christian society, most of which was located in the major Palestinian cities such as Haifa, Akka, Jaffa, Nazareth, and Jerusalem.
The synod has accused Israel of hindering the movement of Palestinian Christians by the Zionist wall and by the hundreds of check points which humiliate Palestinians on a daily basis.
The synod called for the immediate establishment of the Palestinian state as a condition to end the cycle of violence, and for the return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their homes by Zionist troops in 1948.
The document of the synod urged the peoples of the region to work hard to find political compromises which enable the region to live in freedom, democracy, and mutual respect among faiths. This in turn will create in the end a culture of peace and tolerance that will benefit all. If this is implemented, it will bring about an end to the wars, andhopefully enable future generations to live together without fear, without occupation, and without horror.
The prime reason for the synod is concern at the massive decrease of Arab Christians from Palestine in the last 100 years. The widespread immigration of Arab Christians to countries such as Canada, North America, and Australia, has been due to these continuous wars and conflicts. This situation worsened considerably after the establishment of the Zionist state which launched 7 wars against the region. This laidthe groundwork for a culture of violence, religious fanaticism and militarization. Al Jazeera TV mentions that in the past century Arab Christians formed about 20 percent of the population in the Arab orient.This figure has now dropped to around 5 percent. In Jerusalem for instance Palestinian Christians were 30,000 in the 1948 but now do not exceed 10,000.
Throughout history Arab Christians have played important roles in the political and intellectual life of the Arab orient. In modern history they contributed in the Arab renaissance movement of the 19th century which modernized the Arabic language and culture and contributed greatlyin the secular pan Arab movement.
Palestinian Christians were in front of the forces which opposed the Zionist project which sought to destroy Palestine in favor of Polish andRussian Jews. One of them was Najeeb Nassar who devoted his pen and life to defend Palestine from falling in the hand of the Zionist invaders. He also toured Palestine from north to south warning Palestinians of the future dangers of the Zionist project. The synod also addressed the painful situation of the Iraqi Christians who became the victims of the violence which characterized Iraq after the American occupation of Iraq. There have been several episodes where narrow mindedIslamists have confused Zionist Christians, who support the occupation of Iraq and Palestine, with the Iraqi native Christians who have themselves paid the price of the American occupation.
Palestinians eager to see an end to the occupation view the synod document as a step towards their salvation. The Palestinian president said that the uprooting of Palestinian Christians has a negative impact on the national identity of Palestine. He said too that the Pope himselfsaw during his visit to Palestine the Zionist wall which separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem which is the biggest insult against 2000 Christians and to the continuance of Palestinian Christendom.
Israel attacked the synod document on the basis that the synod was a platform for Palestinians to put forward their argument as if the occupied and the oppressed have no right to talk about the horror they are subjected to. The Israeli position goes in harmony with the Jewish fundamental government which issued a law forbidding Palestinians in the1948 land to commemorate the Nakhba day when Zionists destroyed their country.
Israel must not have the illusion of Stalin who underestimated the powerof the Vatican by asking once”how many divisions can the Vatican mobilize against Hitler”. The Vatican has no military troops but it has the moral strength which has its impact all over the world. And if Israel chooses not to listen to the voice of the Vatican which calls fora just peace. This then means that Israel has learnt nothing from the past which taught humanity that racist ideologies have no future.
Dr Salim Nazzal is a Palestinian-Norwegian historian in the Middle East, who has written extensively on social and political issues in the region.
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