Church of the Holy Sepulchre in JerusalemInternationalIndiaAfricaChristina MalykPalestinians in Jerusalem have been living for decades in an atmosphere of hatred and racism towards them. But they call for a peaceful solution of the current escalation, based on justice and security, Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, told Sputnik. The plight of the Christians in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, is reportedly becoming more complicated every year, also due to pressure from Israeli authorities. Unfolding hostilities between Israel and Hamas are only worsening Christians’ life, and Jerusalem is also in danger, according to Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.Christians in the Holy Land are mostly Arabs, who feel they are Palestinians. They are demanding peace, but on equal rights, which they have not had until now, the cleric said in an interview with Sputnik. “We Palestinian Christians belong to both Christianity and Palestine equally. The pain of our people is our pain. The suffering of our people is our suffering. Therefore, we demand justice. Conflict will not go away until justice is achieved, and peace will not come until justice is achieved. Justice in our vision is to end the occupation so that Palestinians can enjoy long-awaited freedom in the Holy Land. Palestinians are oppressed in Jerusalem. Christians are systematically attacked, they (Orthodox Jews) simply spit on us in the streets, they insult us and our religious symbols,” Archbishop Theodosios highlighted.The archbishop added that Christians of the Holy Land hope that all initiatives aimed at ending the war will succeed, and no hostilities will spread to Jerusalem, where the main Christian shrines are located.“Civilians are paying a very high price for this war. In Gaza, as you see, buildings are being destroyed in which there can be old people and children. We do not want wars, but at the same time we emphasize that a solution of Palestinian issue is the key to peace. The war will end, but the Palestinian issue must be resolved. Therefore, we offer our prayers to God and pray to God in these difficult days when we are witnessing these painful and sad scenes. We hope that the Lord God will enlighten the hearts, minds and consciences of those who make decisions about the course of hostilities,” the archbishop added. WorldJerusalem Protests Explained: Roots of the Ongoing Violence10 May 2021, 17:43 GMTMoreover, he called on world powers to take the initiative and work for a just solution to the Palestinian issue, “to end the occupation and stop all the unjust actions that Palestinian people are subjected to.”
“I am sad to see wars, people killed, buildings destroyed and to see civilians become victims. These horrific scenes hurt us Christians to the depth of our hearts, and we hope that the war will end soon. A world based on justice will reign. For the Palestinian people, this means achieving freedom and living in security and peace in the Holy Land."
The archbishop noted that the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem has always helped victims of wars, regardless of nationality or religion, since the beginning of Arab-Israeli wars on the Holy Land. Thus, the Christian Church “selflessly plays its humanitarian role.”“The Orthodox Church has always been on the victims of wars’ side. In 1948, when Palestinians were expelled from their homes, our monasteries and churches received refugees. Up to now, Christian churches play a humanitarian role in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land. We have schools, hospitals, as well as monasteries and churches that always accept refugees – those who are left homeless or in need of food. We accept everyone who is in pain and needs help, regardless of nationality or religion. We don’t drive anyone away,” the archbishop emphasized.