Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bishop Katherine Schori - How would you have responded?

So much for Jewish respect for Christian churches.

Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu is an Israeli hero. This is a man arrested on foreign soil and hauled back to Israel - to spend 18 years in prison (12 years in solitary confinement) for the crime of telling the world what every intelligent person already knows - Israel has nuclear weapons.

He was released in April, 2004 on condition that he never speak to the media. Later it became clear that the conditions of his release were a ruse on which to re-arrest him and keep him in an Israeli prison for the rest of his life. He sought sanctuary and it was offered to him by the Anglican St. George's Cathedral in East Jerusalem.

At 5AM, November 11, 2004 (the day Arafat died) 3 car-loads full of police carrying machine guns broke into St. Georges Cathedral to re-arrest Vanunu.

Here is the letter written by The Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal, Bishop in Jerusalem to Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury.

11 November 2004To: a) The Most Revd Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury b) The Most Revd Frank Tracy Griswold Presiding Bishop of ECUSA c) The Most Revd Andrew Hutchinson Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada d) The Most Revd Peter Carnley Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia e) The Australian Board of Mission f) The Revd Canon John L. Peterson Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council g) The Revd Samuel Kobia General Secretary of the World Council of Churches h) Mr Jeries Saleh Middle East Council of Churches i) The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

It is with tremendous grief and sadness that I inform you that the Israeli special police force entered St George's Cathedral Close today without permission and took Mordechai Vanunu into custody. Approximately thirty officers, many with guns, entered the cathedral gardens and interrupted breakfast in the Pilgrim Guest House. It was a traumatic event that terrorized many of our tourists, pilgrims, and staff. In the 100 years of the cathedral's history, such an event has never taken place.

Immediately I related how they have come into a sacred place, and that their guns were not welcome. The officers with guns withdrew to outside of the Cathedral Close; however, it came to my attention later, that at least one of the officers still carried a concealed weapon. This was after I had been reassured that all weapons had been removed from the church grounds. It is inconceivable why such force is mandated for procedures like today's.

Mordechai was calm during the search, questioning the need for the interrogation, and they searched his room in his and my presence. They took his papers, laptop, and other possessions into custody. I called his lawyer, and he will meet Mordechai in Petah Tiqva.

This type of entry into a sacred space must not be tolerated by the churches throughout the world, and it must not be accepted by those who respect the rights and dignity of every person. We ask the government of Israel to stop such actions as these, and we call for the respect of sacred places in the Land of the Holy One. It is with extreme sadness and disappointment that I must write this letter, and please continue to pray for us in these difficult times.

Peace of God to all of you,The Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal Bishop in Jerusalemcc: His Excellency, President Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

I wonder how the newly elected Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA Katherin Jefforts Schori would have responded - seduced as she has been by her recent American media fame.


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