We, the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem, are saddened by the latest escalation of violence in the Holy Land. On Sunday night, February 26th, dozens of Israeli settlers rampaged through the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus, killing a man, injuring dozens of people with metal rods and tear gas, and torching scores of buildings and cars. This took place as a retaliation after a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli settlers near the same town—an act itself in response to the killing of eleven Palestinians in Nablus the week before. This recent escalation came during and following the conclusion of a rare meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Aqaba, Jordan, in which Israel promised to halt settlement expansion in the Palestinian areas, and to stop, along with the Palestinians, a spiraling and senseless escalation. These painful developments make it ever more necessary not only to immediately de-escalate tensions in words and deeds, but also to find a more lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in accordance with international resolutions and legitimacy. With all people of good will, we pray to the Lord for peace and justice in our beloved Holy Land, where all have been tormented by this painful, long-term conflict.
The Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem