The Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs Participates in the Opening Session of the Seventh “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference

The Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs in Palestine participated in the opening session of the seventh international conference organized by Bethlehem Bible College, titled “Christ at the Checkpoint.” This conference addresses the suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation from a Palestinian Christian theological perspective.

On behalf of Dr. Ramzi Khouri, member of the Executive Committee of PLO and the Chairman of the Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs, a Comittee member Jihad Khair delivered a speech, welcoming the international guests attending the conference. He also praised the role of Bethlehem Bible College, represented by its President Dr. Rev. Jack Sara and the conference director Dr. Rev. Munther Isaac, in conveying the voice of the Palestinian people to the world and defending their rights. He affirmed that this work aligns with the vision and objectives of the committee.

In his speech, Khouri addressed the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, which has persisted for more than 76 years amid fascist, racist, and extremist practices aimed at uprooting Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians, from their homeland.

He highlighted the brutal aggression against Gaza, ongoing for more than seven months, resulting in over 120,000 Palestinians being killed or injured in a systematic genocide, and the deprivation of basic rights to food and medicine.

He also pointed to the situation in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, where settlement activities aim to displace the indigenous Palestinian population.

Khouri condemned the continuous attacks on churches and their properties by settlers, the physical and verbal assaults on Christian and Muslim clergy, and the unjust decisions against Christian institutions to pressure them to close or hinder their operations. He further denounced the daily incursions into Palestinian villages and cities, house demolitions, restrictions on residents’ movement and daily lives, and the curtailment of freedom of worship, preventing believers from practicing their religious rituals freely in the Holy City.

The Chairman noted that all Israeli practices undermine all international initiatives and efforts to find a just solution to the Palestinian issue and achieve comprehensive peace based on international legitimacy. He urged the participants to play their role in pressing for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, allowing sufficient entry of food and relief aid, and halting the forced displacement of residents. He called on the conference attendees to carry the message of the conference to their churches and countries, to be partners in making peace based on international legitimacy and implementing the two-state solution, which is essential for achieving security and stability.

The conference is attended by several international theologians, a representative of His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas, Minister of State for Expatriates Affairs Dr. Versin Aghabekian, member of the Presidential Committee Dr. Khuloud Daibes, alongside ambassadors, diplomats, notable national figures, and Christian clergy from various churches.

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