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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Archbishop Hanna Urges Leaders to Stop Israel, Calls Out Western Complicity

Archbishop Atallah Hanna criticizes Israel's Gaza offensive, calls for Western leaders to cease complicity, highlights humanitarian crisis, and appeals for global solidarity to end the war and achieve justice for Palestinians.

Archbishop Atallah Hanna, the head of the Sebastian Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, urged world leaders to halt Israel’s genocide in the Gaza Strip, as he said some are complicit.

“When we talk about the West, there are some leaders in the West who unfortunately are complicit in this attack. The weapons and missiles striking our people in Gaza are produced in the US and other places.

“In the West, there are leaders involved in this massacre, plotting, and being part of this war. I call on these leaders to withdraw and stop the war,” Hanna told Anadolu.

He pointed out that there are free people in Western countries, noting that in the US, Australia and many places in Europe, there are university students, academics, intellectuals of all faiths, Christians, Muslims and even Jews who do not subscribe to the Zionist ideal.

Expressing his belief that the bloodshed in Gaza will not be in vain, Hanna underlined that the result will primarily be the attainment of freedom for the Palestinian people.

He said people around the world are beginning to see the suffering, tragedy and injustice that Palestinians are experiencing in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem because of the war.

“I believe awareness is increasing, and I hope that this global awareness will also influence the policies of these countries, making their decisions more just and fair, and I hope it will not only be about war,” he added.

Gaza war is not ‘ordinary’

He said what Israel has been doing in Gaza outside of war. “It is not possible to see what is happening in Gaza right now as just an ordinary war. This is ethnic cleansing, massacre; it is a new conspiracy targeting the Palestinian people and their cause,” he said.

“The majority of the population in Gaza are refugees who were subjected to forced displacement in 1948. Today, once again, they face a major forced displacement, confronted with a new Nakba, (mass displacement of Palestinians in 1948 in the Great Catastrophe), having fallen victim to a great conspiracy against their homeland,” he said.

Read More: Israel Continues to Kill Palestinians

Highlighting that Gaza has been under a blockade for about 20 years, Hanna emphasized that the current war is the sixth major conflict Gaza has faced, describing it as the most terrifying and intense battle yet.

Such tragedy in Gaza cannot be described in words

Underlining the great tragedy that Gaza has been experiencing, Hanna said: “The martyrs, the spilled blood, the children left orphaned, along with their places of worship and homes — this war that has devastated the Gaza Strip, has led to a great tragedy. It is such a tragedy that cannot be described in words.”

Hanna highlighted that they are Palestinians as a church and as Christians, underscoring that as Palestinian Christians, they are part of the people.

Pointing out the existence of historical churches in Gaza dating to the 4th century AD, Hanna said: “We have a deep-rooted history in these sacred lands.

“Therefore, the sufferings of the Palestinian people are our own sufferings; their concerns are our concerns. Muslims and Christians alike, we all experience the pains of this occupation. Therefore, we pray to God to aid our people in Gaza,” he said.

‘In what state have you returned, O Eid’

Emphasizing the arrival of Eid al-Adha and drawing attention to the tremendous tragedy the people of Gaza are enduring, Hanna stated: “The blessed Eid al-Adha has come, and the people of Gaza are going through a horrific tragedy. Therefore, we say: ‘In what state have you returned, O Eid.’”

Eid al-Adha is a Muslim holiday that celebrates prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at God’s command, but only to be given the order at the last minute to substitute a ram instead.

“We suffer, we are saddened, but we have not lost hope. We endure pain but do not lose hope. Because we are the rightful owners of a just cause because we are the owners of these sacred places because we are the owners of these sacred lands,” said Hanna.

Highlighting that Greek Orthodox Christians’s primary wish is for the war to end as soon as possible and for the bloodshed and destruction to cease, Hanna expressed appreciation for all the efforts to stop the onslaught.

“I hope that these efforts will continue until these savage attacks come to an end,” he said.

Palestine issue should be resolved

Expressing his belief that the war will stop after, Hanna said: “We want the Palestinian issue to be resolved. The Palestinian people should achieve their freedom and gain independence.”

He conveyed greetings to Muslims on Eid al-Adha and reminded them of their responsibilities toward Jerusalem and Palestine. “While the Palestinian issue is primarily the concern of Palestinians, it is not solely their issue. It is the issue of Muslims, Christians and even Jews who do not believe in Zionist ideology, who seek peace, an end to the occupation and the long-awaited freedom for the Palestinian people,” he said.

Highlighting that advocating for the Palestinian cause is a matter of humanity, Hanna underlined: “I would like to say to the entire world, to all religions, to Christians, Muslims, and Jews: when you defend Palestine, you are defending your humanity, your religion, and your values.”

Call to Christians in Palestine

Stressing that Christianity originated from the land of Palestine, Hanna stated: “I say to all Christians around the world: when you defend Palestine, you are also defending the land where Christianity was born. Christianity originated here and did not come to us from elsewhere.”

Drawing attention to Palestine as the cradle of Christianity, he said: “Therefore, when you defend the cradle of Christianity, you defend the history, the roots, the nobility of your faith and the justice of this cause that concerns all of us.”

Stating that their primary demand is for this war to end as soon as possible, Hanna expressed hope for voices to be raised everywhere for the cessation of hostilities, emphasizing that the people of Gaza do not deserve intense attacks.

“The people of Gaza are a civilized, cultured, and educated people. I have many friends personally in Gaza. The people of Gaza do not deserve to live under these tragic conditions. We demand an end to the war,” he added.