Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
07:42 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
23 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Settlement construction 'hampers' peace: Jerusalem patriarch
Agence France Presse
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land, leads the Sunday mass at the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, as preparations for Christmas celebrations get underway on December 15, 2013.  AFP PHOTO/MUSA AL-SHAER
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fuad Twal, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land, leads the Sunday mass at the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, as preparations for Christmas celebrations get underway on December 15, 2013. AFP PHOTO/MUSA AL-SHAER
A+ A-

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Mideast peace efforts are being "hampered" by Israeli settlement construction, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem said Wednesday in his traditional Christmas message.

"The Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in late July, after three years of interruption, but the efforts are hampered by the continuous building of Israeli settlements," said Fuad Twal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land.

"As long as this problem is not resolved, the people of our region will suffer," he said.

Twal stressed that, "while the world's attention has shifted from the situation in the Holy Land to the tragedy in Syria, it must be stated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains crucial to the region and is a major obstacle in the development of our society and stability in the Middle East."

Shifting to the Syrian conflict, he called to "immediately establish" a "sustainable" ceasefire and to "prevent any entry of outside weapons."

"As the Syrian problem cannot be resolved by the force of arms, we call on all political leaders to assume the responsibility for finding a mutually acceptable political solution that will end the senseless violence and uphold respect for the dignity of people," he said.

Twal noted that instability in the Middle East "affects everyone, but especially our faithful who are tempted to emigrate."

Referring to Pope Francis, set to visit the Holy Land in May 2014 in a trip yet to be officially announced, Twal said: "He cares about the Holy Land and the Middle East."

Both Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmud Abbas, have invited the pope to visit the Holy Land.

Twal said Israel "wants to introduce changes" as part of negotiations with the Holy See on the legal and financial status of church property, which could include an end to tax exemptions.

"Paying a little more or a little less is not the core of the issue," he said.

"What is the important thing is not to 'touch' east Jerusalem, as it is still on the negotiating table. We do not want these agreements to have a political implication that changes the status of east Jerusalem, which was occupied in 1967."

The patriarch, who will celebrate Christmas Eve midnight mass in Bethlehem on Tuesday, condemned all "forms of religious fundamentalism," noting an "increase in acts of vandalism carried out by extremists that affected some twenty holy places or places of worship" under his care this year.

Twal is responsible for the tens of thousands of Catholics living in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Israel / Palestine
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Saturday April 19, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Why Israeli-Palestinian talks fail
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS