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Salah & Hanna Urge Unity, Call for Actions

 Thursday 15 November 2007, 05:10 PM

The leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948 Palestine, Raid Salah, and Archbishop Attallah Hanna of the Orthodox Church of Palestine warned of the incessant Israeli efforts to undermine the Arab and Islamic identity of the city of Al Quds.

Both speakers gave an insider account of the situation in Al Quds at the opening session of Al Quds International Forum.
Salah and Hanna stressed that words are not enough anymore; a collective action is needed to protect the city.
Salah, a figure that has been tied-up to the cause of Al Aqsa, confidently assured the audience that "it is not too long before we convene for Al Quds forum, not in Istanbul, Beirut, Cairo or Tehran, but in the city of Al Quds."
The inclusion of the struggle for Al Quds was a theme that the two guests emphasized. Hanna stressed that the Christians of Palestine are integral part of the Arab nation.
In Al Quds we are not [divided into] sects; we are one family facing the same challenge," he elaborated.
The same idea was echoed by Salah who argued that Al Quds is not just the cause of Arabs and Muslims; it the cause of all dignified and free men.
"As we meet here the Israeli diggers are working on wiping out the remaining features of this historical city with aim of undermining its identity," said Hanna, who was introduced as the "guardian of Al Aqsa and the Church of the Resurrection."
In order to come up with a practical move, Salah Suggested the establishment of an Arab-Islamic foundation to protect Al Quds against Judaization.
"The role of the foundation is to protect the Arab and Muslim particularity of Al Quds, especially that Israel is trying to Judaize the land, the institutions, the architecture, and even the daily life of the city" explained Salah in a later interview.
Through their speeches Hanna and Salah gave a special concern to the general Palestinian affair, viewing it as integral to the sruggle for Al Quds.
"In the course of talking about Al Quds we should not forget the siege of Gaza; how can we forget about 1.5 million Palestinians are besieged to death?...I call upon President Mahmmud Abbas and PM Ismail Haneya to reconcile. It is time for Palestinian- Palestinian negotiations, and it has priority over any American- Palestinian or Israeli- Palestinian negotiations," stressed Salah.
"Al Quds unifies us, Muslim and Christians; Al Quds unities us all as Palestinians…We call upon our bothers to put aside their differences and unite in order to liberate the holy city; in order to liberate Al Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Resurrection," said Hanna.
According to Salah, more the 100,000 citizens of Al Quds were plucked out of the City by the 20 km Israeli separation wall, which strangles the city.
Since 1967, hundreds of homes have been demolished. Several other thousands face the same danger of being homeless in their homeland.
"The conference is a beginning of an awakening on the popular and global levels; our main goal is starting to materialize," said Salah, hoping that the heritage and civilization of this historical city is finally getting its right of protection.

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