KUALA LUMPUR – March 19, 2018: A Jerusalem-based pastor today explicitly stated his view that the holy city should be shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians instead of being dominated by just one group.
But Dr. Alex Awad of the Bethlehem Bible College still sees signs of hope for Palestine to achieve peace and statehood.
Awad, now 72, was born in Jerusalem and has lived there all his life. His talk today was at the National Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies.
“We have never had problems with Jews, Muslims and Christians living together. We used to live in a very peaceful country and as for me, can Jerusalem be shared? My answer is yes and the holy city must be shared. Christians, Jews and Muslims need to show Israel how to share Jerusalem,” he said.
Awad believes that churches, such as those in the United States, are now increasingly more concerned about the issues surrounding the Palestine-Israel conflict.
“When I travelled to the US and went to their churches, I talked to the Christians and realised that many were changing their mind towards the suffering of Palestinians.”
The pastor further sees encouraging signs that the younger generation all over the world is getting more pro-peace.
“Youngsters today are exposed to a lot of news sources that can change their minds to be more pro-peace, especially in relation to the conflict over Jerusalem, compared to their elders.”
He nonetheless admits that the situation on the ground in Jerusalem has worsened after Israel proposed a land swap as part of the peace deal and US president Donald Trump’s decision to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Palestinian ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Dr. Anwar Al Agha, who was at the talk, reiterated that his country’s capital will always be in Jerusalem.
“We will never surrender to Trump’s plan and no Palestinian will ever accept the idea of land swaps in the West Bank. Jerusalem will always be our capital,” he said.