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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
8 June 1949
Department of Public Information
Press and Publications Bureau
Lake Success, New York

Press Release PAL/501
8 June 1949

(The United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees, through its Liaison Officer
at Lake Success, today released the text of a communication signed by seven
religious leaders in the Middle East, which had been transmitted to UNRPR by
the Secretary-General. The communication had been mailed from Jerusalem
on 12 May 1949.)

The text follows:


"As representing various Christian Communities in Jerusalem, Palestine and Transjordan, we are deeply interested in the question of the Palestine refugees, many of whom indeed are of our own flocks, displaced from those parts of Jerusalem and Palestine which are now in Jewish occupation. We are profoundly grateful for the material aid which has been rendered by the United Nations, first through Sir Raphael Cilento's Committee, and now through that presided over by Mr. Griffis. The latter informed us quite definitely last January that the present relief scheme was planned to last only until the end of August, when presumably it would cease altogether whether any scheme of permanent resettlement has been devised or not. Now, however, we are informed that in all probability the available resources may enable the scheme to be continued for another three months.

"We have ourselves endeavoured to co-operate, so far as our resources allowed, with the work of the United Nations Organization, as with the International Red Cross, the League of Red Cross Societies, and the American Society of Friends, who are acting as its distributing agents. And we desire now to make representations with the utmost emphasis that to discontinue material aid at the end of November -- i.e. just when the most severe climatic conditions begin, and when the suffering of the under-housed and under-clothed and under-fed will be most intense -- would amount to little short of what has come to be known as genocide.

"If it is not possible before the coming winter either to come to some permanent settlement for the return of refugees to their own towns, villages and lands, or, alternatively, to establish them elsewhere under conditions where they can earn their own living, then it is in our judgment absolutely essential that relief measures, not less but if anything greater in quantity and efficiency than those now in force should be maintained at least through another winter.


Yours most respectfully,

Jacobus, Coptic Archbishop of Jerusalem
and the Near East
Timotheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem
Vincent Gelat, Auxiliary Bishop of the
Latin Patriarchate (R.C.)
Memher Kidana Mariam, Principal of the
Ethiopian Convent
Guregh II, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem
Weston, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem
Rev. F. T. Boulos S. Gelph, Vicar of the Syrian
Metropolitan of Palestine and Transjordan."

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