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Patriarch says peace starts with Palestinians, then extends to neighbours

The Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah leads a prayer with Palestinian elderly christians during the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows celebrations at the Home for the Elderly of Our Lady of Sorrows, in Jerusalem, on Sept. 15, 2013. [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]
The Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah leads a prayer with Palestinian elderly christians during the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows celebrations at the Home for the Elderly of Our Lady of Sorrows, in Jerusalem, on Sept. 15, 2013. [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]

Retired Palestinian Patriarch Michel Sabbah said on Monday that peace starts with the Palestinians, then extends to neighbours and the rest of the region. Sabbah was the first Palestinian to serve as the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

"The war on Gaza means that there will still be more wars to come. It means that Israel entered a war more than seventy years ago, and has not been able to get out of it yet," he wrote on Facebook. "Israel should reconsider its calculations. Israel won and lost. It is still losing. The winner is the one who earns peace, justice and humanity. Nothing of that, so far, has been achieved."

The patriarch pointed out that Israel is facing the Palestinian people who live on their own land and demand that Israel and the international community should give them back their freedom, in their own land, not in anyone else's land.

"This reality cannot be ignored. All major world powers cannot ignore this reality. The peace of Israel, peace of Abraham, peace of God, begins in Palestine first, and with the Palestinians first, and then extends to neighbours and the rest of the region."

Israel and the world must understand this, Sabbah insisted. "If not, they will keep the region in the grip of death, and turn themselves into death makers. And they are responsible for this."

Concluding his message, the patriarch said, "It is time for Israel to listen. It is time for Israel to end a war it began more than seventy years ago. It is time to get out of it, not according to the logic of force and weapons, but rather according to the logic of justice and truth."

READ: World Council of Churches condemns Israel's discrimination against Palestinians

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