Archive for December 2nd, 2010

Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 (Dublin) Church leaders from the Holy Land met CRH plc executives at its European headquarters in Cabinteely today to urge it to stop profiting from the occupation of Palestine.

 The church leaders Fr Manuel Musallam (Latin Catholic Church), Archbishop Theodosius Hanna (Greek Orthodox Church) and Mr Constantine Dabbagh (Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches Department for Service for Palestinian Refuges in Gaza) asked CRH to divest from its Israeli subsidiary Mashav Initiative and Development Ltd, the holding company which owns a significant minority shareholding in Israel’s sole cement company Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises Ltd. Nesher supplies the cement used in the construction of Israel’s apartheid wall, its matrix of illegal settlements, and other instruments employed in the occupation of Palestine.

 The three church leaders were welcomed at CRH’s European Materials head office by both the company’s regional director, and its managing director of its European material division. The visiting Palestinian eminences were accompanied by three members of Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance.

During the talks, the visiting delegation encouraged CRH to “take its corporate social responsibility seriously” and to employ due diligence to ensure the company doesn’t contribute to human rights abuses, and therefore avoid complicity with Israel’s violations of international law. The religious leaders encouraged CRH “not to lose sight of its morals and ethics” and stressed “investment should not be in conflict with ethical values.” The Palestinians said they came from the Holy Land “not to tell CRH what to do, but to consider the consequences of its actions”.

 CRH expressed its appreciation of the approach taken in the visitors’ presentation of the issues, and committed to bring the points raised to the CRH board. CRH (Cement Roadstone Holdings) plc, is an international building materials company with its headquarters in Ireland. The company has a significant 25% minority shareholding in Nesher, and is allocated two seats (from eight) on Nesher’s board of directors.

 On 7 July 2004, the International Court of Justice declared Israel’s construction of the Wall in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) to be “contrary to international law”.

 The UN’s framework document Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights (2008) deals with the issue of human rights and transnational corporations. This was adopted by the Human Rights Council and supported by the EU in 2008.

 Tomorrow (November 30th), the church leaders will travel to Belfast, where they will be welcomed at Stormont, by the First and deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness. The Holy Land Church Leaders’ tour is a Sadaka initiative, part financed by Trócaire and organised in partnership with Christian Aid.

 During the past week, the Palestinian delegation have fulfilled engagements in Ireland which included meetings with President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin; Mr. Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs; and attendance at an Irish Inter-Church Meeting (which involved Cardinal Brady, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and twenty of the other most senior church leaders in Ireland).

 Hilary Minch, SADAKA – the Ireland Palestine Alliance Tel: 087 9855 997 hilaryminch2004@yahoo.com ENDS

 Note for editors

 The first ever visit to Ireland by three senior Palestinian church leaders is a Sadaka initiative, organised in partnership with Trocaire and Christian Aid. The primary purpose of the tour is to raise awareness of the grave plight of the Christian community in Palestine, particularly in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas. The tour aims to give voice to the Palestinian people as a whole, engage with political and religious leaders in Ireland and highlight the current political and human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The tour is taking place between 24 November – 1 December 2010. The religious leaders’ engagements in Ireland include a courtesy call with President Mary McAleese at Aras an Uachtarain and meetings with Mr. Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs; leaders of the four main Christian churches and the First and Deputy First Ministers in the NI Assembly among others. There will also be a presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, receptions to be hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the Palestinian Delegation to Ireland, a visit to the Michael Davitt Museum and the celebration of an ecumenical service in Ballintubber Abbey in Co. Mayo.

 SADAKA – the Ireland Palestine Alliance is an organisation founded in December 2009 to maximise support in Ireland for the Palestinian people in their search for national, democratic and human rights. www.sadaka.ie

Biographical Information:

 Archbishop Theodosius Hanna, Greek Orthodox Church – Archbishop Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna was born in 1965 in the village of Al Rameh, Galilee district, Israel. He was ordained in 1991 and since that time has held many prominent positions within the structures of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, including spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. He held the position of Secretary General of the Clerical Lay Joint Council of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem and was appointed Professor of Church History and Arab Civilisation at the Arab Teachers College in Haifa. He is the founder of the Orthodox Youth Movement in Jerusalem and the Holy Land and is an active member of the international ecumenical movement both at local and regional level. Alongside his work towards Christian unification, he is a representative at the Geneva-based World Council of Churches. Throughout the Holy Land he is regarded as one of its most prominent religious and spiritual leaders. On the 1st December 2005 he was unanimously elected by the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem as Archbishop of Sebastia (Nablus district).

 Monsignor Manuel Musallam, Latin Catholic Church – Ten years older than the state of Israel, Monsignor Musallam has witnessed enormous changes in his lifetime and has had to cope with supporting his people through their extraordinary circumstances under Israeli occupation. He served as the parish priest in Gaza until his retirement in 2009. During his time there, Monsignor Manuel became known as the ‘Priest of the Million’, in recognition of his unfailing care and concern for both Christian and Muslim alike.

 Mr Constantine Dabbagh, Middle East Council of Churches Mr. Constantine Dabbagh was born in Jerusalem in 1938, and in the midst of fierce fighting in 1947, fled as a refugee to the Gaza strip. During his life he has worked for United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Gaza, and for the United Nations in the Republic of Congo (now Zaire). He has consistently advocated non-violence amidst living conditions that clearly have become a humanitarian crisis. His personal and professional dialogue of justice, peace, security, mutual understanding and reconciliation has involved him in critical negotiations between political factions within Palestine, and the Palestinian Authority and the international community. Constantine directs the provision of health, education and community services which care for the predominantly Muslim population of Gaza. In particular, the services focus on mothers and babies, vocational education and the provision of psycho-social health services to an increasingly traumatised population.

 For further information or to arrange for interviews or photographs, contact: Hilary Minch of the SADAKA Board Tel: 087 9855 997 hilaryminch2004@yahoo.comwww.sadaka.ie [1]

 For more information on Christians in the Holy Land, see http://www.sadaka.ie or http://www.annadwa.org/en/media/pdf/pal_chr_booklet.pdf. [2]

 The full text of the Kairos Palestine Document can be found on the Kairos Palestine website, http://www.kairospalestine.ps

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