By The Daily Star | Wednesday, January 19, 2011
BEIRUT: The exiled former Patriarch of occupied Jerusalem Hilarion Kabouji called upon all Arabs Tuesday to support an aid flotilla that could sail to besieged Gaza on May 31, 2011, to mark the first anniversary of deadly Israeli aggression against a similar convoy.
“We all know that Jerusalem is being Judaized, and its history and landmarks are being distorted, they are paying billions of dollars to Judaize Jerusalem. We Arabs, what are we doing to spare Jerusalem these dangers?” he asked, adding that admiration for Jerusalem should materialize into action, “or else, it will be considered deception.”
“We have to work and make sacrifices,” he added.
Kabouji called upon Arabs to support “Freedom Flotilla II” which would sail to Gaza in a bid to break the maritime blockade on the enclave. Israeli commando units stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31, 2010 and killed nine Turkish activists.
Kabouji made his remarks in the Press Federation headquarters where a news conference was convened by the association “Viva Palestina – The Artery of Life,” which is headed by former British M.P. George Galloway.
The association announced that it would carry out a number of activities in support of Gaza, occupied Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Palestinian cause.
Galloway and a number of individuals who were aboard the first Freedom Flotilla also participated in the news conference.
Kabouji said that when he was appointed a patriarch for Jerusalem in 1964, the Christians in the city constituted 25 percent of the population. “Today, they became one percent.”
Meanwhile, Galloway said the Viva Palestina association would participate in Freedom Flotilla II.
He called upon Arab states to secure ships for the flotilla. “Arabs own many ships … Is there a more noble cause to use these ships than granting them to the flotilla that will sail to Gaza?”
Galloway said the Israeli attack against the Freedom Flotilla did not scare any activist in the world.
“We are not afraid of you. We will return through land … and through sea, and we will prove this to you on May 31,” he said. – The Daily Star