Former Jerusalem archbishop: How long will Catholics keep ignoring the suffering of Palestinians?

By Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, 18 May 2021
Image: Ömer Yıldız/Unsplash


Israel’s military occupation of Palestine continues in its 53rd year. In particular, Palestinians in Gaza are suffering under a callous siege. The U.S. administration has withdrawn aid for Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem and for the United Nations’ humanitarian work in the occupied Palestinian territory.

It is a question of humanity in the Holy Land. Human beings continue to kill or be killed. The power of the stronger, not the power of God, continues to prevail. Moreover, in regarding the state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, Christian Zionists believe that Israel should receive special status, thereby using the word of God to support policies and practices that privilege one people over another—with deadly consequences.

We say that the word of God is a word of life for all. Our God is one of love, not war. God’s word, even spoken in the midst of the conflict, must lead all of us to respect one another as equally created—Israelis and Palestinians having equal rights, freedom and independence.

So we turn to the media, the global Catholic Church and civil society asking, “Will you help?” Can you help both Israelis and Palestinians achieve a just, definitive peace? Or will you keep looking with indifference toward the Holy Land, a land in which one people continues to oppress another people, resulting in continued bloodshed and hatred?

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Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah served as the archbishop and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1987 to 2008, the first native Palestinian to hold the office for centuries. He is a co-author of the Kairos Palestine Document and a member of the Kairos Palestine board.

With thanks to America Magazine and Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, where this article originally appeared.


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