Friday, November 09, 2007

So, This Is What The Rabbis Went For? "Occupation"?

Arutz Sheva reports:

Muslim sheiks, church officials and the chief rabbis in Jerusalem issued a joint statement that recognized the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria as "occupation," stating, "Palestinians yearn for the end to occupation and what they see as their inalienable rights. Israelis long for the day when they can live in personal and national security. Together we must find ways of reaching these goals.”

Reuters doesn't mention the word "occupation" in its communique nor does this Media for Freedom report.

Here's from how the VOA covered it:

...the most challenging problem, the leaders say, is finding an acceptable compromise on Jerusalem, a holy city for the three religions and a recurring flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Patriarch Michel Saba, representing Palestinian Christians, believes Jerusalem is key to a peaceful settlement:

"We have agreed to reflect on the future status of Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is a holy city, it is a holy place and it is a big problem for political agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. It needs reflections, but nothing is impossible, it can have a solution. Every one can have his place in Jerusalem: the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims," he said.

And Salah Zuhayka, Assistant Secretary of Islamic Endowments for the Palestinian Authority, says that in concert with the planned Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, a few weeks from now, the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land hopes it can serve as a new platform for the region's moderate voices:

"For us as Palestinians it is a really an important step to bridge the gap between us and the Israelis. It is really also a strong failure to extremism and fanatics who do not want to see those three religions setting together and dealing with each other," he said.

Finally, TIME magazine had this:-

The "Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land" had gathered in Washington D.C. to unveil a new working relationship and six-point action plan. The group of patriarchs, rabbis and sheikhs had recently met with Condoleezza Rice in Jerusalem. Rice encouraged them to go to Washington with their ideas ahead of the Mideast peace conference planned for Annapolis later this month.

The Council's new action plan has been as delicately designed as the day's seating arrangements. The document does call for an "end to occupation", but doesn't mention the two-state solution.

And after more searching, came upon this:-

All of us believe in one Creator and Guide of the Universe. We believe that the essence of religion is to worship Him and respect the life and dignity of all human beings, regardless of religion, nationality and gender.

We accordingly commit ourselves to using our positions of leadership, and the influence of our good offices, to advance these sacred values, to prevent religion from being used as a source of conflict, and instead serve the goals of just and comprehensive peace and reconciliation.

Our respective Holy Places have become a major element in our conflict. We lament that this is the case, as our respective attachments to our holy places should not be a cause of bloodshed, let alone be sites of violence or other expressions of hatred. Holy places must remain dedicated to prayer and worship only, places where believers have free access and put themselves in the presence of the Creator. Holy places are there for believers to draw inspiration to strengthen their acceptance and love of Almighty and all His creatures, from all religions and all nationalities.

Accordingly each religious community should treat the Holy Sites of the other faiths in a manner that respects their integrity and independence and avoids any act of desecration, aggression or harm.

We, believers from three religions, have been placed in this land, Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is our responsibility to find the right way to live together in peace rather than to fight and kill one other. Palestinians yearn for the end to occupation and for what they see as their inalienable rights. Israelis long for the day when they can live in personal and national security. Together we must find ways of reaching these goals.

Towards these ends we are actively working to:

1. Establish “hot line” procedures of rapid communication among ourselves in order to address and advise government officials regarding issues of protection of and access to Holy Sites before such issues become cause for conflict.

2. Establish mechanisms to monitor media for derogatory representations of any religion, and issue statements in response to such representations.

3. Together reflect on the future of Jerusalem, support the designation of the Old City of Jerusalem as a World Heritage Site, work to secure open access to the Old City for all communities, and seek a common vision for this city which all of us regard as holy.

4. Promote education for mutual respect and acceptance in schools and in the media. We will sponsor a conference for Israeli and Palestinian educators, academics and Ministers of Education on “The Role of Religion in Educating for Peace: Principles and Practices.”

5. Demonstrate through our relations that differences can and should be addressed through dialogue rather than through violence, and strive to bring this message to our respective communities and political leaders that they may embrace this approach accordingly.

6. Provide ongoing consultation to our government leaders, and through the example of our work together remind them that the interests of one community can only be served by also respecting and valuing the humanity and interests of all other communities.

Go here for more pro-Pal. Christian propaganda and news.

Seems David Rosen has succeeded in trapping the Chief Rabbis into a semantic ambush. To be generous, I could interpret the italicized phrase above as meaning the Jordanian occupation. But, nevertheless, they should have simply stayed in the parameters of something like "Palestinians yearn for the their own sovereignty" instead of an end to occupation. Let them yearn for anything they want, but to brand Israel's presence in its historic homeland as "occupation" is a political stand, not a faith-based one.

The Rabbis have failed (was She'ar-Yashuv Cohen in on this, too?).

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