Palestinian Christian leaders issued a statement to the international community supporting observer-state status for the Palestine Liberation Organization at the U.N.
“We believe the Palestine Liberation Organization’s initiative to enhance Palestine’s status in the United Nations to an Observer State is a positive, collective, and moral step that will get us closer to freedom. This is a step in the right direction for the cause of a just peace in the region,” read the Nov. 14 statement.
Under a veto threat in the U.N.’s Security Council by President Obama last year, the PLO withdrew its effort to gain full state recognition.
Observer-state status could be approved by the U.N.’s General Assembly without the threat of a U.S. veto.
Bloomberg News characterized observer-state status as the status that the Vatican has at the U.N.
“We, Palestinian Christians, are the descendants of the first Christians. We are also an organic and integral component of the Palestinian people. And just like our Palestinian Muslim brothers and sisters, we have been denied our national and human rights for almost a century,” read the Christian letter.
“We have persevered through 64 years of exile and 45 years of occupation… We, Palestinian Christians, say enough! Our message is simple: to achieve peace, the world must also say enough to occupation and the degradation of human dignity,” said the document, which was signed by 100 leaders.
“We, Palestinian Christians, declare that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is a sin against God and humanity because it deprives Palestinians of their basic human rights, bestowed by God,” said the letter. “Ending Israeli occupation is the only way for Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, to enjoy a life of prosperity and progress. It is also the surest way to secure continued Christian presence in this, our Holy Land.”
Signatories included Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christians.
One evangelical signatory was Alex Awad, pastor of East Jerusalem Baptist Church.
“Palestinian statehood is long overdue,” said Awad in an e-mail statement to EthicsDaily.com.
“Since 1948, Israel and the US have been blocking the aspirations of the Palestinians to have an independent state,” wrote the pastor. “Today, Israel is the only country that opposes Palestinian statehood. The US supports Israel for political but not for ethical considerations.”
Awad added, “It is ironic that the US, the champion of freedom and liberation, closes its eyes and hardens its heart to truth and justice when it comes to Israeli/Palestinian issues of peace and ending the conflict.”
“There are more Palestinians than Israelis living from the River Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean Sea. Why should only half of the inhabitants of the same area be independent and the rest under a brutal military occupation?” asked Awad.