13-May-2009 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Denounces Israel’s "Unjust Occupation"

May 13, 2009 - In an address welcoming Pope Benedict to the Valley of Josaphat-- located below the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane-- Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, compared the agony of Palestinians and Israelis alike to Christ’s agony in the garden and denounced the “unjust occupation” that affects the lives of Palestinians.

“Holy Father, today, in many ways, the situation has not changed” since Christ’s agony, said Patriarch Twal. “Around us, we have the agony of the Palestinian people, who dream of living in a free and independent Palestinian State, but have not found its realization; and the agony of the Israeli people, who dream of a normal life in peace and security and, despite all their military and mass media might, have not found its realization.”

He added:

And the international community, just like Jesus' beloved disciples, stands apart, eyes drooping with indifference, unconcerned with the agony of the Holy Land, which has gone on for 61 years, and does not seriously rouse itself, to find a just solution. In this Valley of Jehosephat, a valley of tears, we raise our prayer for the realization of the dreams of these two peoples. We raise our prayer for Jerusalem, to be shared by the two peoples and three religions.

On this very Mount of Olives, Jesus wept in vain over Jerusalem, and continues to do so, with the disillusioned refugees, without any hope of return, with the widows of the victims of violence and the many families in this city, who every day see their homes demolished because, it is said, "they were built illegally," when the whole situation is illegal and still looking for a solution …

Holy Father, you stand before a small flock that is shrinking, that suffers from emigration, largely due to the effects of the unjust occupation and all its humiliation, violence and hatred. Yet we know that the faith is the victory that overcomes the world, (1 Jn 5:4) and that through it, we are able to see and recognize Jesus Christ in every person. With Jesus and in Jesus, we can enjoy here and now the peace that the world can neither give nor take out of our hearts.

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