Unification News for May 2005

IIFWP Conference in Gaza

Participants at the conference on world peace and dialogue in Gaza, April 5, asserted today that the Apartheid Wall Israel's building in the Palestinian territories should be torn down and the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem must be protected.

The conference, which was organized by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), included a foreign delegation of 50 religious figures from different religions around the world and was entitled "international dialogue and cooperation for progress, prosperity and peace." US Congressmen and women as well as former American ambassadors in Arab countries were also among the participants.

Several Jewish rabbis were planned to attend, but Israeli authorities refused to allow them to enter Gaza for security reasons.

In the beginning of the conference, Fateh movement's Central Committee member Abdulla Franji welcomed the guests on behalf of the President Mahmoud Abbas. "We welcome you in the 8000-year-old Gaza City on this holy land, and we haven't yet obtained peace or freedom."

Franji also pointed out the dangers posed by the Apartheid Wall in West Bank and Jerusalem, saying it tears Palestinian lands. He called for an international cooperation to tear it down.

Meanwhile, the Federation's Chairman in North America, Chang Shik Yang, stressed the need to remove the wall and make peace in the region, saying that "we are unhappy with the presence of the separation [Apartheid] wall, and it should be torn down sooner or later."

Also, IIFWP's Deputy Chairman, Reverend Michael Jenkins, prayed that God would give the world strength to tear down the wall, praising the Muslim Sheikhs in Jerusalem for their keenness on peace and justice.

"We [IIFWP delegation] have come to Palestine to support the Palestinians and protect Al Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic holy sites. I love Palestine, I love the Palestinian people and I love Gaza," Rev. Jenkins said.

Israeli authorities have prevented 24 of the 74 members of IIFWP delegation to enter Gaza Strip; all of them Americans from Arab origins.

IIFWP Secretary in Gaza, Kamal Thabet, noted that no Jewish figures were able to participate in the conference at Gaza due to being banned by Israel.

On his side, the member of Gaza's Shariah Court, Sheikh Saber Hassan, called on the members of the delegation to convey the true image of Gaza and the Palestinian people to the world. "You have seen how Palestinian children love peace; the peace that restores rights to their rightful owner

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