His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, met with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, on Saturday, according to the Palestinian News Network (PNN). Present as well was Counselor to the President, John Podestam, during a discussion which took place this morning, over the ongoing plight of Christians in the Holy Land and, specifically, in the context of the ongoing war crimes being committed, by Israel, on Gaza.Father Michael McDonagh, International Advisor to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Sir Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS President and CEO of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) accompanied Twal on his visit to the White House, the PNN reports.
In the illegaly occupied Palestinian territories, in addition to the vast number of Palestinian communities existing between the internationally recognized borders of Israel, the excessive and indiscriminate brutality inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli military, police and settlers alike continues to traumatize, disenfanchise, and displace both Christian and Muslim families, with little to no coverage by mainstream media networks — who, undeniably, continue to control and manipulate mass opinion regarding the situation in the Middle East, thereby securing political backing for policies of which they little to essentially no understanding.
The Patriarch’s visit to the White House was organized by HCEF, according to the PNN, and for the purpose of converging across borders with civic, religious and political leaders, in a courageous act of diplomacy for international peace and justice by the trio of representatives, with special regard to policies based on distorted facts.
His Beatitude declared:
‘There is no winner in this war on Gaza. There is only loss, pain and death in at the end of this road.’
He explained that Israel’s self-proclaimed ‘Operation Protective Edge’ is, in fact, a military blunder on the part of the Israeli state and, far from pacifying Gaza, the assault will leave mourning, despair and hatred there, in its wake — not peace.
The only solution, he said, is to reach an agreement whereby Palestinian rights are recognized, and by which peace is built upon justice.
The very first wounds inflicted by this policy are the divisions of families, and they are not exclusive to Palestinians. Now that Israel’s current crimes against humanity, in addition to its historically unabated breaching of international law and gross violation of signatory resolutions, are being held to the light by the global community, family division has become a central concern for families around the world living under the constituency of their political representatives.
Furthermore, it was noted that current Israeli policies do not permit Palestinians living in Jerusalem to bring spouses from occupied Palestinian Territories to live with them.
This means that Jerusalemite Palestinians are forced to live separately from spouses, or must begin married life outside of Jerusalem, giving up ancestral homes and residency status, all within the borders of a harrowingly divided and jointly patrolled military state which encompasses an area approximately the size of New Jersey.
Mr. McDonough was said to indicate that the White House is committed to engaging constructively on these issues, proposing family reunification in all of Jerusalem, as well as the rest of the illegally occupied Palestinian territories, as a significant focus of peacemaking endeavors.
Finally, Patriarch Twal noted the ‘tenuous’ status of the Christian Church in both Israel and Palestine, where historic church properties remain under constant threat of confiscation (on top of widespread settler violence and destruction of Palestinan property) in order that the state may continue construction of its massive ‘security’ wall, which courses in and around the West Bank region like a prison, connecting on either end with the Jordan River.
See Wiki Commons file: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Barrier_route_July_2011.png
The Bethlehem area was particularly noted, in regard to these policies, where and under which the Salesian Monastery of Cremisan is slated for demolition, to make way for the wall.
Mr. McDonough assured the Patriarch of his support in advocating a more just policy.
Following the discussion, Sir Rabie declared:
‘We are very honored by this meeting and, more importantly, pleased by the discussion we were able to have. The United States has long played a very powerful role in this part of the world, and the opportunity to meet the Chief of Staff, who is the closest advisor to President Obama, and discuss the situation from the perspective of Palestinians is an enormous step on the path to better policies, and ultimately to a just and lasting peace.’
Related: ‘US Senate Unanimously Passes Resolution Supporting Israeli Assault on Gaza’