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World should unite to protect our churches, property from Israeli violations — Council of Churches

Dec 18,2017 - Last updated at Dec 18,2017

Dima Karadsheh, member of the World Council of Churches (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

Following is the full text of Dima Karadsheh’s remarks, member of the World Council of Churches, during His Majesty King Abdullah's meeting with Christian religious leaders and figures from Jordan and Jerusalem on the occasions of Christmas and the New Year at the Baptism Site (Bethany beyond the Jordan) on Sunday: 

Your Majesty, the Custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites, 

Your Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein,

Today, and from this holy site, I carry to Your Majesty a Christian Arab greeting full of the blessings of Christmas and the spirit of peace that fills our hearts with love and pride. We meet as we approach the date of birth of Christ, close to the place where Christ was baptised, on the pure land of Jordan, which prospers under wise Hashemite leadership.

Your Majesty, the Custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites,

We, at the World Council of Churches, are proud of your achievements in this model of national unity and solidarity, which has never made us feel anything but as one Jordanian family, that has enjoyed and continues to enjoy the protection of the guardian of Christian and Islamic holy sites in Jordan and Palestine. We are near the Jordan River, which is a link, not a separator, between us and our holy sites, and our persevering people in the face of an unjust occupation.

In what state did you come back to us, O Christmas! Yes, we remember Christmas in the holy land, in the heart of Arab Palestine. Today, it bleeds in pain and sadness for its children, who have been martyred and displaced. There are those who stand strong and steadfast in the blessed land as it screams in the face of those who occupied and usurped it with decisions taken by “those who do not own for those who do not deserve”. From Balfour to Trump, we tell them we reject Trump’s decision just as we rejected Balfour’s 100 years ago. Your promise is null and void; it is illegal and will not be accepted by the churches or the free people of the world.

We in Jordan, with our Hashemite leadership as a role model, stand united in the face of the aggressors and the occupiers, to make the world hear the voice of the eternal Muslim and Christian right to holy sites, as Your Majesty stated in the Istanbul Summit a few days ago. Yes, it is an eternal right to our holy sites, protected by the Pact of Omar as it was protected by your grandfather Sharif Hussein Bin Ali with his body and soul.

Your Majesty, today, you lead the Muslim and Christian worlds in defending holy sites as a true hero. Lead us Your Majesty, and all the Christians of the world will follow as your faithful soldiers until the injustice on Jerusalem and our holy sites is lifted. 

Your Majesty, protector of this holy land,

Today, I stand before Your Majesty, proud to be an Arab, a Jordanian, a Christian, and a representative of the World Council of Churches, and we ask Your Majesty, as the Custodian of all our Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, to step up your efforts in defending our Islamic and Christian holy sites at the United Nations, UNESCO, the International Court of Justice, and all other international fora to protect our churches and property, especially at this time, when the churches suffer under widespread abuse. Over 60 churches in Jerusalem and Palestine have been barbarically burned and vandalised by Israeli extremists in recent years, in so-called price tag attacks that included the defacement of these churches with offensive graffiti targeting all Christians, including Jesus Christ, peace be upon him.

Your Majesty, 

Last but not least, we declare our loyalty to Your Majesty and the Hashemite family, and to every member of our brave army and Nashama. May God protect the Christians and Muslims of my country under the leadership of the Custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites, His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein. 



May God protect you, Your Majesty, and season’s greetings.

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