The Palestinian National Campaign for solidarity with bishop Kabouji and the Palestinian deportees has demanding the interference of the international, regional and local institutions in order to make the return of the Bishop to Jerusalem possible.
Abdel Rahman Abu Arafeh, the head of the campaign in his opening remarks, reminded that lunching the campaign on this date was planned to mark the 30th anniversary of the Bishop deportation in 1978. He added that it is a humanitarian demand to allow the 86 year old Bishop to return to his beloved Jerusalem. He clarified that a document requesting the return of the Bishop will be signed by the largest number of people before disseminating the document to international specialized organizations.
Sheikh Ekrema Sabrie, the head of the Higher Islamic Committee emphasized the need to allow the return of the Bishop as deportation is an unacceptable practice according to international humanitarian convention especially when it‘s taken against an old religious Bishop. He stressed the need for the return of the Bishop as a start of the return of all the Palestinian deportees.
Bishop Attalla Hanna, affirmed the deported Bishop‘s humanitarian help during the early days of the Israeli occupation in June 1967 by collecting the bodies of the fallen victims from the streets of Jerusalem. He stressed that the Israeli measures against the deported Bishop, whether in imprisoning him for four years or deporting him, is a result of the Bishop‘s national stands against the occupation and its illegal policies. Bishop Hanna directed his speech to President Mahoud Abbas and the Muslim and Christian leaders to act for the return of the deported Bishop. Bishop Attalla passed the message of Bishop Ilarion Kabouji, in which he deeply expressed his hope to return to Jerusalem to spend his remaining time in the city that he served, loved and suffered for.
The Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem expressed his support to the campaign goal, that of working for the return of the Bishop as it is a humanitarian need. He clarified that the Israeli deporting policy is but a single act of a comprehensive policy practiced by the Israeli occupation.
Archimandrite Joseph Sugbini of the Roman Catholic Church in Jerusalem explained that the church figures including the Bishop Ilarion Kabouji were always standing to support the church and the national cause; he demanded the quick return of the Bishop to Jerusalem.