Archbishop Chacour (CNS/Paul Haring)
In her October 25 article on the Catholic News Service website, Deborah Gyapong begins by noting that Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour is Palestinian, an Arab, a Christian and an Israeli citizen, and that he is proud of each one of his identities.
Here are snippets of the piece by Ms. Gyapong:
- “We have been labeled a nation of terrorists,” he said. “We have been a nation terrorized for over 70 years.”
- If people sympathize with the suffering of Palestinians in refugee camps, or struggling under the occupation in Gaza or the West Bank, or as second-class citizens in Israel, they might decide “to be on our side,” he said. “If being on our side with the Palestinians, being for us, means being against the Jews, we do not need your friendship,” he said. “You reduce yourselves to being one more enemy.”
- Archbishop Chacour said his parents taught him never to hate, even though, when he was 8, the Israeli military ordered his family to leave their home in their ancestral village. Expecting to be allowed to return, his family and other villagers lived for two weeks in the hills. Then the family heads went to speak with Israeli authorities about returning to their homes. Instead of inviting them back, the military herded them onto military trucks “like cattle” and dropped them off across the border at Nablus, West Bank, and told them not to return.
- In 1953, his home village was razed and the land confiscated by the Israeli government, he said. But he does not use these experiences as a pretext for hatred or violence. Instead, he has devoted his life to reconciliation and building peace among Jews, Christians and Muslims.
- “We Palestinians and Jews do not need to learn how to live together,” he said. “We just need to remember how we used to live together for centuries and centuries.”
Read the entire article here: “Melkite archbishop urges Christians to support Jews and Palestinians.”