12-September-2012 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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West Bank priest laments Israeli settlements

Speaking in Germany, Father Firas Aridah, a parish priest in a Palestinian village, lamented the effects of Israeli settlements in the area.

The priest's talk was posted on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

"What I had in mind when I came to serve in Jerusalem was to focus all my energy in performing the 'normal duties' of a parish priest—tending to the needs of the Christian faithful and the community at large while being able to attract the youth," he said. "It was there, in the midst of my 'normal duties', where I became unwillingly drawn into this on-going conflict. It was never my intention to get involved in politics - and I am still resolute to leave the politics to the politicians - but my focus is the people. And in my service to the people, I dealt with the occupation."

"Our lands are still being confiscated all around us to build more Israeli settlements or to expand settlements that already exist," he continued. "Recently Israel has confiscated around three thousand acres from 59 Christian families in Beit Jala to continue expansion of the Gilo settlement and the separation wall, where we lost more than 9% from the land of West Bank."

"We will not stand for a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible which seeks to legitimize the infringement of Palestinian rights, nor will we stand for Islamic extremism," he added.



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