PNN: Jerusalem Sits in Solidarity with Gaza

24 February 2008

Jerusalem / PNN – Yesterday throngs of people held a sit-in at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem’s Old City. The occasion was a day of solidarity with the people of Gaza, under intense siege by the Israeli government and its forces.

Bishop Attallah Hanna, the Archbishop of the Roman Orthodox Church, began with a prayer “in support of our people,” and “to lift the siege on our people in the Gaza Strip.”

Jerusalem itself is under heavy siege by the Israeli government and its forces which are creating new facts on the ground in contravention to international law and the United Nations, including settlement building and expansion, Wall construction which is cutting off the city from the rest of the West Bank and its own inhabitants from one another, home demolitions, land confiscation and ethnic cleansing.

Bishop Hanna said, “We in Jerusalem stand by our people in Gaza and call for the lifting of the unjust embargo against our people there in solidarity with Gaza. Today and always Jerusalem and Gaza are together with the blessed holy Jerusalem defended by our sanctities. We feel complete solidarity with Gaza which is suffering from tragic, harsh and difficult circumstances: the ongoing siege of Gaza and the continuous targeting of stone and humans and the trees.”

He asked, “Does anyone have the right to blockade more than a million and a half people in Gaza? Does anyone have the right to deny electricity, food and medicines? The Gaza Strip is denied the most basic rights to life, including the basic rights of childhood. Who holds the right to do this? Patients are suffering, being deprived of medication and treatment. This is being done with relative impunity, as if there were any right to isolate our people in Gaza, as if they are prisoners in a large prison.”

The Bishop called for international and local concern. “We had hoped that all the people of good will and conscience that work for lifting this unjust embargo would succeed. And we appeal to our friends everywhere to do their humanitarian duty towards our people who are besieged in Gaza.”

Along with Bishop Hanna on Saturday were hundreds of other Palestinians and foreign supporters living in Jerusalem.