In a separate part of the document -- a section on cooperation with Jews -- the synod fathers took issue with Jews who use the Bible to justify settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured in 1967.Bustros should have stopped at "We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people"--but you can't really blame him. Most people with only a passing knowledge of Israel are unaware that the land is not occupied, but disputed--and that Israel's rights to the land are based on legal arguments.
"Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable," the document said.
Many Jewish settlers and right-wing Israelis claim a biblical birthright to the occupied West Bank, which they call Judea and Samaria and regard as a part of historical, ancient Israel given to the Jews by God.
Asked about the passage at a news conference, Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, said:
"We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.
"The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians," he added. "The justification of Israel's occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures."
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