Christian clerics to Europe: Recognize Palestinian statehood

Three leaders from Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Lutheran communities pen petition saying Palestinian statehood, definition of Israel's borders are paramount to peace.

October 10, 2014 19:39
1 minute read.
Michel Sabbah

Former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah (L) and PA President Mahmoud Abbas stand together during a meeting in Bethlehem in 2007.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A number of senior Palestinian Christian clerics urged European states on Friday to recognize a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, AFP reported.

In an open letter penned by three Palestinian leaders from the Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Lutheran communities, the clergymen said the recognition of Palestinian statehood and the definition of Israel's borders were paramount to achieving peace.

"From Jerusalem, our occupied capital, we send our urgent message to the whole world and particularly to Europe -- we are yearning for justice and peace," AFP quoted the letter signed by former Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, Greek Orthodox archbishop of Sebastia, Atallah Hanna, and Lutheran World Federation president Bishop Munib Younan.

The call from the Christian leaders came after Sweden last week announced its intentions to be the first major European country to recognize a sovereign Palestinian state.

In their letter, the prelates explained how they were disillusioned with calls to resume negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, adding that they were disconnected from their churches due to "an undesirable occupation.

The clerics lamented the "continued humiliation" of their people in their plea to Europe.

"Europe has a moral, legal and political duty to hold Israel accountable and support Palestinian non-violent initiatives to end the Israeli occupation, including the recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border with east Jerusalem as its capital," the petition was quoted as saying.

The UN General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012 but the European Union and most EU countries, have yet to give official recognition.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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