Response to Archbishop Rowan Williams’ recent comments about Bethlehem

Campaigners protest over Dr Rowan William’s comments on Bethlehem
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011 4:27 pm
Campaigners protest over Dr Rowan William's comments on Bethlehem | Archbishop of Canterbury, World at One


Responding to comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Radio 4’s World at One programme on Tuesday, campaigners have written a letter protesting that he did not say enough about the desperate plight of Christians in the Holy Land.

Yusef Daher, who has been involved in the Kairos document, said: “As a Palestinian Christian from Jerusalem I can say we numbered 32,000 in Jerusalem before Israel. Now we are only 8,000 in Jerusalem. We are being targeted by residency rights revocation, house demolition – all Israeli policies.

“In Bethlehem, many Christians have been forced to leave due to Israel’s occupation, including its siege on the Church of then Nativity in the second Intifada.

“I need to remind the Archbishop that Israel did not respect his pleas for the residency status of His Grace Dawanai the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem to be restored!
Please, Your Grace, tell us why you did not mention the Jerusalem Christians in your speech? ”

Jenny Baboun said: “As a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem, I believe that Christians here are NOT “a marginalized minority”. Coexistence is a genuine value among Palestinian Muslims and Christians. It’s true that Christian Palestinians have immigrated to the West but so did Muslim Palestinians. Palestinians have migrated mainly because of the Israeli occupation. The Archbishop may have visited Palestine, but he is not in our shoes.”

Sarah Colborne from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury has a reputation for courage and candour. However, his reputation has been damaged by failing to address the impact of decades of brutal Israeli occupation in pushing Palestinians – including Christians – out of Bethlehem. Palestinian Christians and Muslims are working together for peace, justice and freedom.

“It is not Muslims but Israel which is occupying Bethlehem, and has taken all but 13% of Bethlehem’s land for Israeli use. The Archbishop didn’t even mention that Palestinians can’t visit – let alone move to – Jerusalem, an important home for all three faiths.

“We trust the Archbishop will take the suffering of Palestinian Christians to heart, and urgently speak out on Israel’s role in the deterioration of Palestinian life, including in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.



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