Jerusalem is our decoration

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Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

Jerusalem is our decoration

By Fr. Rif’at Bader

I followed up with sorrow--as well as with others who love Jerusalem, the Holy City--the announcement made by US President Donald Trump to move his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and consequently his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a unilateral step which undermines all international resolutions with regard to the final settlement. Furthermore, his announcement jeopardizes the peaceful nature of Jerusalem which serves as a crucible for all the believers.

Since Jerusalem is the cradle of the three Abrahamic faiths, it lies in the conscience of every believer in the Almighty God. His Holiness Pope Francis called on the US Administration to respect the status quo of Jerusalem. He also called for wisdom and prudence to prevail in order to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts. His Holiness reiterated that Jerusalem is a unique and holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims, where they pray in their respective holy sites and that the city has a special message for peace.

The bishops in Jerusalem also expressed their deep concern for the way the United States dealt with the issue of Jerusalem. They added in a message they jointly sent to President Trump that this step will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land. Jerusalem is a city of peace for its residents and for the whole world. This step drives us further towards destructive division. Any sudden change in the identity of the city, according to the bishops, moves us further from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division in a departure from the desired goal where it becomes a land of conflict and suffering.

The Christian holy places in Jerusalem have two dimensions, namely administrative and national. The administrative factor is governed by the status quo principle, which has been in force since the Ottoman period, under which Christian sanctities are subject to the supervision and administration of the Christian churches. The national factor, which involves the sanctuaries in Jerusalem, and in the occupied West Bank, is in Jordan’s views a national issue par excellence. Jordan and its Hashemite leadership has undertaken all means available to protect it in accordance with the resolutions of the Arab summits relevant to the Palestinian cause, to Jerusalem as well as to its Islamic and Christian sanctities. His Majesty King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbes signed in Amman on March 31, 2013 an agreement reaffirming that His Majesty is the custodian of the holy places in Jerusalem and that he has the right to exert all legal efforts to preserve them.

As we are on the threshold of celebrating Christmas where the angels said: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rest”, and at a time when people turn to look at the nativity city, Bethlehem, where Christmas tree lights have been turned off, tearful eyes turn to Jerusalem, the city of the elusive peace, or rather the city of victory. So let us post on the Christmas tree Jerusalemite adorations that read, “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" and "Our national unity is our adornment". This will be the best form of solidarity with the issue of Jerusalem at Christmas time. We ask the Almighty God neither to deprive Jerusalem of peace, nor of the joys of Christmas. We also ask the Almighty God to have the world leaders keep in mind the aspirations of the residents of Jerusalem and of those who live it in the hope of attaining a just and comprehensive peace for all the people of this holy and unique city.

Jerusalem is our decoration.

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