CMEP: In Washington, Christians from the Holy Land Advocate for Peace and Comprehensive Cease Fire
Three Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem and Bethlehem came to D.C. this week to advocate for a comprehensive ceasefire that will stop all violence and end the devastating effects of the bombing campaign on the civilian population of Gaza. One of their key purposes was to hand deliver a letter signed by several Palestinian Christian pastoral leaders from across denominations from the West Bank city of Bethlehem addressed to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., the 46th President of the United States.
“We bring you greetings on behalf of the Christian community in Bethlehem, the city of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,” the letter begins. The letter continues:
“We are writing to plead with you to help stop this war. God has placed political leaders in a position of power so that they can bring justice, support those who suffer, and be instruments of God’s peace. We want a constant and comprehensive ceasefire. Enough death. Enough destruction. This is a moral obligation. There must be other ways. This is our call and prayer this Christmas.” The entire letter can be read below.
The letter was delivered to the White House on Tuesday, November 28, by Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, the pastor of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem; Rev. Dr. Jack Sara, president of Bethlehem Bible College; and Tamar Haddad, the head of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) women’s empowerment program And Still We Rise (ASWR). In addition to meeting with the White House, the Christian leaders had several meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress and with other U.S. government officials calling for a ceasefire.
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), Telos, and the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) were proud to host these leaders and support their advocacy efforts with the U.S. government. CMEP and Telos additionally hosted the delegation in a prayer vigil for peace at St. Marks in Washington, DC.
“We cannot stress the urgency of our message. Our concern is about the very existence of our community. We fear that Christianity will disappear in the very place where it began. The Palestinian voice and that of Palestinian Christians is not heard in Washington D.C. among policy makers. We live in the Holy Land and bring a unique and crucial perspective from on the ground. The letter we brought to President Biden is a cry for peace; a cry for humanity. We are broken by the images of death and destruction. We say, “enough!” The bombing of Gaza is a vengeance campaign where the majority of people who are killed are innocent civilians. Wars cannot achieve peace and security. Only justice and equal rights for all people can achieve peace.” ~ Munther Isaac, pastor of The Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church
We were honored to have the opportunity to come to Washington, DC to urge the Biden Administration and Congress to take action in support of a comprehensive ceasefire. During our visits we urged the United States government to regain its place as a peace broker between the Israelis and Palestinians. This moment is a critical time for the Biden Administration and U.S. citizens to step up as peacemakers. How many more lives have to be lost before there will be serious interventions? We want intervention and help. We want policymakers to stand up on behalf of people who are suffering and need peace. Please listen to the plight of the Palestinian Christian community who are suffering and face increasing threats with each day ~ Rev. Jack Sara, President of Bethlehem Bible College “O Compassionate and Merciful God, we come before you with heavy hearts, burdened by the ongoing suffering of our Gazan brothers and sisters. For over seven decades, they have endured hardships of war, displacement, and aid deprivation… We pray for an immediate ceasefire, a cessation of all violence and hostilities that have caused immense pain and loss. May the weapons of war be silenced, replaced by the language of peace and reconciliation… We implore you to grant the people of Gaza the humanitarian aid they desperately need. May food, water, shelter, and medical care reach those who are the most vulnerable. Ease their burdens, comfort their sorrows, and restore hope to their lives… May this be the last Christmas that Palestinians do not get to celebrate in Bethlehem. May there be no more Christmases under the rubble but a Christmas with life.” ~ Tamar Haddad, the head of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) women’s empowerment program And Still We Rise (ASWR), shared in a prayer vigil for peace in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, November 28, 2023