American Delegation Visits Bethlehem In Solidarity With Palestine, Calls For Ceasefire.

(MENAFN- Palestine News Network ) Bethlehem /PNN/

The Municipality of Bethlehem, represented by the Mayor, Anton Salman, received today, Tuesday, a delegation from the United States, supportive of the Palestinian cause and advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza. The delegation included 35 individuals from 19 different states in the U.S.

The delegation consisted of representatives from various Christian denominations in the United States, responding to an invitation from the Kairos Palestine and Al-Sabeel institutions in Jerusalem, which work to mobilize support from Christian churches worldwide to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Anton Salman welcomed the American delegation, thanking them for accepting the invitation and visiting Palestine, especially Bethlehem, as it is the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the messenger of justice, love, and peace. Additionally, Bethlehem is a tourist city visited by Christian pilgrims every year to explore its historical and religious sites, including the Church of the Nativity.

During his meeting with PNN, the Mayor stated that the 35-member American delegation came to support the Palestinian people in their plight and to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. Salman added that the challenging conditions faced by the Palestinian people and Bethlehem, in particular, were discussed, along with the Israeli practices against our people.

Salman emphasized the world's necessity to pressure the occupying state to cease its aggressions, allowing peace among nations and enabling the Palestinian people to live freely, peacefully, and stably.

Anton Salman, during his meeting with the delegation, stated that the United States has not shown any signs of supporting a peace process for a two-state solution. Nothing of the sort is evident to the world or the Palestinians.

He added that the United States consistently opposes, in the Security Council, any resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, using its veto power, preventing any decision to stop the aggression and genocidal war against the Palestinian people.

Salman continued by highlighting that the situation in the West Bank is equally perilous as in Gaza. Since October 7, the occupation has intensified measures against our people, tightening the checkpoints at the entrances to the West Bank, making it difficult for citizens to move from one city to another within the West Bank.

Mayor Salman stated that the situation in Gaza is catastrophic; people are suffering from hunger, displacement, and thirst under bombardment and aggression. He urged the international community and human rights organizations to recognize Israel's crimes against civilians in Gaza.

Salman requested the delegation's assistance so that every Palestinian can live in their land with equal rights and opportunities like other nations.

The General Coordinator of the Palestinian Christian Initiative, Kairos Palestine, lifted a priest, Rafat, to PNN, stating that the delegation from the Christian Church responded to the initiative's invitation and the solidarity expressed with the Palestinian people during the ongoing genocide in Gaza and the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the occupation against our people in the West Bank and Gaza.

He noted that the delegation came to express condemnation of Israeli crimes, stand against U.S. policy, and criticize various countries showing blind allegiance to Israel.

One member of the delegation, Reverend Susan Weeder, stated that their visit came in response to the invitation from Kairos Palestine to express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Susan emphasized that the delegation came to demand a ceasefire and an end to ethnic cleansing in Gaza. They also called for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and Israeli prisoners.

Weeder urged the delivery of aid to Gaza and the cessation of human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza. She pointed out that the United States has contributed to the displacement of about 2 million people from their homes to shelters lacking basic life necessities. She called on her government to reconsider its policy of supporting Israel as an occupying state.

In the same context, Fran Shuki, an American solidarity activist, explained that she began working to raise awareness about the Palestinian reality in 2016. In a statement to PNN, she said, "I received an invitation to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and decided to come because we must stand in solidarity with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza amid the war exploited by Israelis to seize more land through unleashing bulldozers."

She emphasized that conditions in Palestinian territories deteriorate due to Israeli policies, indicating that the situation changes with the proximity of settlements to Palestinian communities and cities.

Fran affirmed that apartheid policies, walls, and intimidation will only lead to more violence and will not bring peace.


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