By Benedict Mayaki
The Commission for Justice and Peace of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has called on Palestinian Christians to collaborate in the dual vocation of Jerusalem: that of being a Holy City for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and of being a place where Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace.
The document, published on 4 March on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem is titled “Being a Christian Palestinian in Jerusalem in 2020.” It touches on the peculiar character of Jerusalem and the identity of the Christian Palestinian Jerusalemites in the light of the United States’ controversial peace plan for the Middle East.
In December 2017, the US formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, raising more questions concerning the status of the Holy City.
The Holy See advocates for international recognition of a special status for the Holy City that guarantees religious freedom and free access for the adherents of the three religions, and a two-state solution to the dispute over Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is home to holy sites of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religions.
Palestinian Christians vulnerable
While Israel holds Jerusalem to be its eternal unified capital, the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as their capital. Amid this struggle, Palestinian Christians, being few in number, find themselves unaccounted for in the considerations towards peace. This leads to a sense of estrangement, vulnerability and withdrawal from public life.
Call to action
While recognizing the difficulties of religious identity faced in the region, the document calls the Palestinian Christians to “carry out their mission among the people and in their land,” as “religious identity is always incarnate in a specific historical, cultural and geographical context.”
The document also highlights the importance of the Christian vocation.
It stresses that “Christian Palestinian Jerusalemites solidly rooted in their personal identity, in its religious and national dimensions, can respond fully to their local and universal vocation, working for equality, justice and peace, contributing by all possible means to bring the conflict in Jerusalem to an end.”