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Monday, March 27, 2017

Articles related to Holy Land


West Bank: Seats reserved for Christians in local elections
West Bank: Seats reserved for Christians in local elections

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has confirmed the number of seats reserved for each city to Christian candidates with a presidential decree, ahead of the municipal elections scheduled for 13 May. According to the decree, dated 15 March, eight seats out of 15 will be reserved to Christian candidates in the municipal councils in Ramallah and Bethlehem, and

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Watch: Bishops' prayer for Lent from the Holy Land
Watch: Bishops' prayer for Lent from the Holy Land

As we journey through Lent having made various achievable (and some fanciful) promises of abstinence, we look to the Holy Land to reflect on Christ's sacrifice and what it means to us. It's a good opportunity to contemplate the region and its people 2,000 years on. We see a land of tension and division, walls and suspicion. A group of bishops from around the world visited the Holy Land in

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Friends of the Holy Land urged 'to engage in hope-filled action'
Friends of the Holy Land urged 'to engage in hope-filled action'

More than 60 Anglican and Roman Catholic representatives gathered at Lambeth Palace last week for FHL's second national Diocesan Coordinators conference. With 25 Catholic and Anglican dioceses represented, it reflected FHL's ecumenical and apolitical credentials. Dean Hosam Naoum of St Georges Cathedral in Jerusalem urged those attending to engage in "hope filled action" by working together through FHL to support vulnerable Christians living in

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Bethlehem Briefing: Saving the world's oldest Christian community
Bethlehem Briefing: Saving the world's oldest Christian community

On 9 February the UK Parliament unanimously debated and approved a motion appealing for the resumption of peace talks on Israel and Palestine and condemning the ongoing construction of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. The advocacy group Open Bethlehem submitted the following briefing for the debate: Open Bethlehem is a film and advocacy project that works to bring greater understanding of the challenges that face Bethlehem today with a special focus on the Christian

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USA: 15 Christian organisations call for peace, justice in Israel/Palestine
USA: 15 Christian organisations call for peace, justice in Israel/Palestine

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men and Pax Christi International are among 15 major Christian organisations of different denominations that sent a briefing paper to all members of Congress and to the Trump Administration this morning, calling for US policies that promote peace, justice, and equality between Israelis and Palestinians. The paper states: "2017 marks 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza and 24 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords. Over the last 50 years, but particularly since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, there have been

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Israel: Priest appeals against deportation of 14 Filipino children
Israel: Priest appeals against deportation of 14 Filipino children

A group of eleven year-old boys, born in Israel to Filipino migrant worker parents, are in danger of being deported, because they don't have residence documents. Fr David Neuhaus SJ, Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and coordinator of the Pastoral Care of Migrants, has sent an open letter to Aryeh Deri, Minister of the Interior of the State of Israel, about the case of the 14 boys. In the letter, Fr David, who is of Jewish origin, mentions that in 1930, Philippine President Manuel Quezon, took in more than 1,300 Jews fleeing from Europe,

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Lutheran Bishop sends Open Letter to President Donald Trump
Lutheran Bishop sends Open Letter to President Donald Trump

Bishop Dr Munib A Younan, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land has written an Open Letter to President Donald Trump expressing his concern over the President's recent executive decisions regarding immigrants and refugees. Bishop Younan writes: "I am worried, because for nearly 250 years, the world has looked to your country as an example of how diverse races and nationalities can possess one American identity. Your country has led the way in promoting civil rights, always hearkening back to the principle of equal citizenship, with liberty and justice for all..."

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Ask your MP to attend debate on settlements in occupied Palestine
Ask your MP to attend debate on settlements in occupied Palestine

Church campaigners are asking ICN readers to encourage their MPs to attend an important debate about the illegal settlements in the Holy Land which will take place next Thursday. The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme have also sent us a petition.. The construction of settlements in occupied Palestine - including areas well known to pilgrims - near the Shepherds Fields and Bethlehem - quadrupled in 2016, according to the Israeli monitoring organisation Peace Now. The UN has reported that the eviction of Palestinian families and demolition of their homes

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Bishops call for action after fifty years of occupation in the Holy Land
Bishops call for action after fifty years of occupation in the Holy Land

Fifty years of occupation demands action, is the call of the Holy Land Coordination bishops at the end of this year's meeting. Describing the occupation as a scandal that violates the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis, the bishops called for an end to the suffering on both sides. While many people in the Holy Land strive for reconciliation, most have now lived their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation. The bishops implored Christians in their respective countries to recognise their own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.

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Bishop Declan Lang discusses Holy Land Coordination visit - podcast
Bishop Declan Lang discusses Holy Land Coordination visit - podcast

Bishop Declan Lang is leading this year's Holy Land Coordination visit, which began on Saturday, with the aim of meeting and supporting the Holy Land's local Christian communities. The international delegation of bishops started by visiting the small Christian community in Gaza, then took part in the traditional Mass of the Peoples in Jaffa, hosted by the various national communities present in Israel. They will also go to Hebron and East Jerusalem, and delegation members will meet local bishops, students of Bethlehem University and the Mayors of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit

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Israeli rabbis launch war on Christmas trees
Israeli rabbis launch war on Christmas trees

As tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims converge on the Holy Land this week to celebrate the birth of Jesus, senior Israeli rabbis have announced a war on the Christmas tree. In Jerusalem, the rabbinate has issued a letter warning dozens of hotels in the city that it is "forbidden" by Jewish religious law to erect a tree or stage new year's parties. Many hotel owners have taken the warning to heart, fearful that the rabbis may carry out previous threats to damage their businesses by denying them certificates declaring their premises to be "kosher".

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Holy Land: law to 'silence' mosques would set a dangerous precedent
Holy Land: law to 'silence' mosques would set a dangerous precedent

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM, Apostolic Administrator of the vacant see of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, has expressed his objection to government plans to take away the speakers from the minarets of mosques used for the daily call to Islamic prayer. The bill was introduced to protect Israeli citizens from 'noise'. It was approved by the Ministerial Commission for legislation in mid-November and now under consideration by Parliament. The call to prayer is a sound which has been heard throughout the Holy Land for centuries.

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Holy Land: A shepherd's story - 'Life has become as small as a ring'
Holy Land: A shepherd's story - 'Life has become as small as a ring'

Jibrin was born in Qawawis, a community of shepherds in the South Hebron Hills. His family had fields of wheat and barley, sheep and olive trees. Then, in the mid-1980s, the Susya settlement, illegal under international law, was established by the Israeli government on Palestinian land just across the road. Things started to change. The settlers let their animals into the Palestinian fields and damaged the crops. They threw stones at the shepherds. Jibrin's family moved nearer to the village for protection. But the harassment didn't stop: it got worse.

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Cardinal praises 'witness and strength' of small  Catholic community in Gaza
Cardinal praises 'witness and strength' of small Catholic community in Gaza

Cardinal Vincent Nichols visited Gaza on Sunday 6 November to offer support to the small Christian community living there. There are now around 1,200 Christians, of whom 170 are Catholic, in a total population of 1.8 million. In addition to the Holy Family Parish where Cardinal Nichols celebrated Mass, the Catholic Church runs two schools where over 90% of the pupils are Muslim, an orphanage for disabled children and other charities offering support to the population as a whole.

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Catholics and Anglicans set off on joint Holy Land pilgrimage
Catholics and Anglicans set off on joint Holy Land pilgrimage

Archbishop Bernard Longley and the Anglican Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, are this week leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land; it's thought to be the first time such a joint pilgrimage has been made to the Holy Land from England. The fifty five pilgrims will visit the key sites of Jesus' life and death including Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee. The pilgrims will also spend time with the 'living stones' - those Christians who live and work in the Holy Land.

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Jerusalem: NCC/WCC Consultation on Holy Land - final statement
Jerusalem: NCC/WCC Consultation on Holy Land - final statement

No people should be denied their rights and, certainly, no people should be denied their rights for generations. The unresolved conflict in Israel and Palestine is primarily about justice, and until the requirement of justice is met, peace cannot be established. As Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza nears the 50-year mark, generations have been suffering under this reality. The possibilities of a viable two-state solution, for which we have long advocated, are more elusive and, seemingly, more unrealistic than ever.

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London exhibition exposes harsh reality of Israeli border controls
London exhibition exposes harsh reality of Israeli border controls

A London exhibition opening next Monday, will offer a taste of daily life in the Holy Land, as artists are constructing a life-sized copy of a border control point at the separation barrier between Israel and occupied Palestine. Visitors to You cannot pass today: Life through a dividing wall will walk through the checkpoint, installed at Hinde Street Methodist Church in Marylebone, accompanied by documentary photography, sound, testimony and eyewitness accounts.

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Archbishop Martin leads Irish 'pilgrimage of solidarity' to Holy Land
Archbishop Martin leads Irish 'pilgrimage of solidarity' to Holy Land

On Sunday Archbishop Eamon Martin set out on an eight-day pilgrimage of solidarity to the Holy Land accompanied by 177 pilgrims drawn from all around Ireland. The pilgrims' itinerary includes visits to sites associated with the earthly life of Christ and will have a particular focus on demonstrating solidarity with the local Christian community - which has been diminishing in numbers in recent decades. Speaking ahead of the pilgrimage Archbishop Eamon said: "I am glad to be part of this pilgrimage of prayerful solidarity to the Holy Land.

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Holy Land study guide for Christian groups
Holy Land study guide for Christian groups

Kairos Palestine have just published a comprehensive study guide to be used by Christian groups, schools and parishes. The course, compiled by Kairos member Karen Fairfax-Cholmeley, consists of five sessions (each one taking up to 1.5 hours to complete) and covers a range of topics from the historical side of the conflict, to how we can support Palestinians' right to non-violent resistance. Karen previously worked as a lawyer, and is now a teacher and researcher.

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Christian Aid partners in Israel to stand tall in face of law that seeks to silence voices working for justice
Christian Aid partners in Israel to stand tall in face of law that seeks to silence voices working for justice

On July 11th, the Israeli Knesset passed a controversial bill requiring non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that receive more than fifty per cent of their funding from foreign governments to declare so publicly. In light of the ruling William Bell, Christian Aid's Senior Advocacy Advisor for Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territory, said: "This bill is a clear attempt to restrict or close down voices that speak out against injustice. The majority of the organisations that this law will apply to are human rights organisations,

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Jerusalem: Israeli authorities confiscate antiques from Palestinian family shop
Jerusalem: Israeli authorities confiscate antiques from Palestinian family shop

An antique shop run by a Palestinian family in Jerusalem, which will be have been visited by many foreign pilgrims through the years, has been raided by Israeli authorities who confiscated many items. Israeli forces on Sunday morning raided a Palestinian-owned antiquity shop in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City and confiscated a large number of antiquities, the owner told Ma'an news service. Nabil al-Huroub said Israeli police and border guard officers along with inspectors from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) stormed his shop on al-Wad Street in

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Holy Land: Two year blockade leaves Gaza trapped in isolation,  poverty
Holy Land: Two year blockade leaves Gaza trapped in isolation, poverty

Two years after war devastated large parts of the Gaza strip, claiming more than 1,500 civilian lives, Israel's blockade stifles recovery for 1.8 million Palestinians living in the region. William Bell, Christian Aid's advocacy and policy officer, said: "Two years on recovery has barely begun. The blockade has stifled recovery efforts, deepened poverty and ensured a sense of despair amongst the trapped and isolated population" Due to the restriction on the movement of people and goods into Gaza, including essential items such as fuel and building

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Holy Land: West Bank faces severe water shortage as Israel cuts supplies
Holy Land: West Bank faces severe water shortage as Israel cuts supplies

Israel stands accused of using 'water as a weapon' as water supplies to the West Bank have been drastically cut, and some West Bank homes have gone without water for a week, news services and aid agencies report. The crisis began on the first day of Ramadan, when water supplies were cut completely for 24 hours. While summer temperatures are well over 30 degrees centigrade and rising, families across the West Bank now have barely enough to drink, let alone wash. Agriculture is particularly under stress and dairy farmers face the prospect of

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Bethlehem blog: He knows neither the place nor the time
Bethlehem blog: He knows neither the place nor the time

Among the group of teachers sitting in the sun before lessons start, Khalid Zboun is clearly the head teacher. All the teachers are drinking tea, the fuel of teaching, but Khalid is drinking his from a pint mug that wouldn't look out of place in a British pub. He needs to drink tea in such quantities because being head teacher of Al Khadr Boys' Secondary School, near Bethlehem, is a tough job. He knows neither the time nor the place that the Israel military will come.

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Pilgrimage People

Pilgrimage People
Charity that organises visits to the Christian communities in the Holy Land

See: http://www.pilgrimagepeople.org/

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Holy Land: Rise in Palestinian children held by Israel 'alarming'
Holy Land: Rise in Palestinian children held by Israel 'alarming'

A jabbing pain in his shoulder and thigh roused Obada from his sleep at 3am. In the half-light, the 15-year-old could make out eight masked men surrounding his bed, their rifles pointed at him. "I felt terrified," he said of the experience of being arrested in February from his home in the village of al-Araqa, near Jenin in the northern West Bank. Jonathan Cook writes in his website: The View From Nazareth. Obada is one of more than 100 Palestinian children who, in recent months, have found themselves dragged from bed at gunpoint in the

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Atlanta Summit of Churches in USA and Holy Land - Document
Atlanta Summit of Churches in USA and Holy Land - Document

Leaders from churches in the Holy Land, among them Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, met with the heads of faith organizations and churches in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) on 19-20 April 2016 for a summit about the role of US churches in peacemaking in the Middle East. Below is 'The Atlanta Church Summit Document' issued at the end of the meeting.... 2017 will mark 50 years since the occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. In the Bible, the 50th year is a year of jubilee when land is given back to its original owners, a year of freedom forgiveness and mercy.

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Report on US Evangelical conference in Bethlehem
Report on US Evangelical conference in Bethlehem

This month saw the fourth Christian Evangelical convention in Palestine as more than 400 delegates, mostly from the USA, descended on Bethlehem to take part in what has become an annual gathering titled 'Christ at the Checkpoint'. Thick American accents resounded across the Orient Palace Hotel. The old tried to negotiate their diet of 'Steak' with waiters offering few too many salads with tahini. The young paced the streets of Bethlehem smoking shishas with their Palestinian counterparts discussing Middle East politics, the Bible and,

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Holy Land: Israel demolishes Palestinian children's playground
Holy Land: Israel demolishes Palestinian children's playground

Israeli forces on Tuesday demolished a children's park near Nablus and three Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank village of al-Walaja amid a mass escalation in demolitions across the occupied area this year. A PA official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Daghlas, told Ma'an news service that Israeli bulldozers razed a children's park in Zaatara south of Nablus. The Israeli authorities gave no prior notice before demolishing the park, which was built last year with around $60,000 donated

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After eight years of waiting, Christians get out of Gaza for Easter
After eight years of waiting, Christians get out of Gaza for Easter

The Israeli authorities granted the necessary permits to Christians to leave the Gaza Strip in order to take part in Easter celebrations. 95% of those who had applied for an authorization received a positive answer. It is the first time that the Catholic Church is directly involved in the process of getting exit permits. This role is usually fulfilled by the Orthodox Church. For Christmas and Easter holidays, requests to get permits should be made from the Israeli military authorities, which hold

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Israel: Survey reveals fragile social cohesion
Israel: Survey reveals fragile social cohesion

A US survey published by the Pew Research Centre has revealed the discrepancies and fissures made by religions within the Israeli society. The survey was presented by Alan Cooperman, Research Director, at the Consulate General of France in Jerusalem on 10 March, 2016. The survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre in Washington, made public on 8 March, is the first of its kind to tackle with accuracy religious gaps and their effects within the Israeli society. The study interviewed 5601 Israeli adults in their respective

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Holy Land: Mass in Nazareth on World Day of the Sick
Holy Land: Mass in Nazareth on World Day of the Sick

Pope Francis' Special Envoy, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, celebrated Mass today in Nazareth to mark the World Day of the Sick. The Mass took place in Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation and was the centerpiece of events marking the 2016 World Day of the Sick that is celebrated each year on February 11th, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Zimowski, who is President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, reminded the congregation that the central theme of Pope's Francis' message for this year's World Day of the Sick is the

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Holy Land: Two suspects arrested over vandalism to Dormition Abbey
Holy Land: Two suspects arrested over vandalism to Dormition Abbey

'Death to the heathen Christians, the enemies of Israel', 'Let his (Jesus') name and memory be obliterated' and 'Christians to Hell'. These are some of the slogans that were found on the doors and walls of the Dormition Abbey last week. Two days after the vandalism of the Dormition Abbey in Mount Zion, the police arrested two Jewish youths, aged 15 and 16, suspected in carrying out the attack. The two suspects were interrogated on Wednesday morning and are expected to appear in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

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US bishop says Palestinian Christians in Cremisan Valley 'have lost hope'
US bishop says Palestinian Christians in Cremisan Valley 'have lost hope'

"It was very sad to see the present situation where individuals have their lands confiscated and trees uprooted," said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico. "This is a sign of something much larger. It seems to be a diminishing of the rights of Palestinians to be there and a lack of acknowledgment of their legitimate right to be present whether in the state of Israel or in Palestinian lands." Bishop Cantu and 12 bishops from Europe, South Africa and North America visited the Cremisan Valley on January 10 as part of the Holy Land Coordination, in which they come to

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International delegation of bishops visits Gaza and Bethlehem
International delegation of bishops visits Gaza and Bethlehem

The annual Holy Land Coordination pilgrimage of bishops from Europe, North America, and South Africa is now underway in Bethlehem and the Jordanian capital, Amman. British and Irish delegates include: Bishop Declan Lang representing England and Wales; Bishop Thomas McAreavey for Ireland; Bishop William Nolan from Scotland, CoE Bishop Christopher Chessun and Bishop William Kenney representing the Commission of Bishops' Conferences of the European Community. The group is visiting local parishes, schools and aid and development

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 Bethlehem celebrates another Occupied Christmas - Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabba
Bethlehem celebrates another Occupied Christmas - Patriarch Emeritus Michael Sabba

At this holy time of the year, Bethlehem, the city of the Nativity, stands at the centre of attention of the whole world. What the world might overlook as it watches is that the very city where Jesus was born celebrates yet another occupied Christmas. This year, Israel, a self-proclaimed "safe haven" for Christians, has presented to Bethlehem a few unwelcome Christmas gifts. Israel's Christmas gifts to Bethlehem this year serve towards consolidating the separation between Bethlehem and its twin city, Jerusalem; the city where Jesus was born and the city

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Pre-Christmas address from Patriarch of Jerusalem
Pre-Christmas address from Patriarch of Jerusalem

... Christmas, the feast of the Light, that shines in the night, a celebration of joy, hope and peace. Children of the world dream of a wonderful celebration with gifts, lights, decorated trees and creches. However, and I repeat the same words of Pope Francis, everything is distorted "because the world continues to make war". This famous "third world war being fought in pieces", which he speaks of so often, is unfolding before our eyes in our region.

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Israel: Bishops protest as Rabbi describes Christians as vampires
Israel: Bishops protest as Rabbi describes Christians as vampires

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinary Bishops of the Holy Land say that they are "dismayed" by anti-Christian public statements made by Rabbi Benzi Gopstein just a few days before Christmas. They condemn the Rabbi's statements and point out that they coincide with events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate conciliar declaration, which opened a new phase of relations between Jews and the Catholic Church. Gopstein is the head of Lehava, or Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land, which opposes the integration of Jews and non

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Holy Land: Letter from Beit Sahour, the Shepherd's Field
Holy Land: Letter from Beit Sahour, the Shepherd's Field

"We are the shepherds, and we have to repeat the story that Christ is born to save us all. It happened in our small village. What joy! The presence of the churches here reminds us of that great story and the angel telling the shepherds not to be afraid. My name is Marianne Qumsieh. I am nine years old. I go to the Orthodox school in Beit Sahour where our family lives. I pass close to the Shepherds' Field every day. My father Issa (Arabic for Jesus) is a dental lab technician. My mother Reem (Arabic for gazelle) is a housewife and I have a younger

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Send a Christmas message to Holy Land Christians + resources
Send a Christmas message to Holy Land Christians + resources

This Christmas Kairos Britain is inviting readers to send a message of support to those living in Palestine/Israel. Christmas in the birth place of Christ is characterised by occupation, blockade, military rule and poverty. We want to express our solidarity and support to all those suffering under this weight of oppression and let them know that they are not alone. As Christians we share in their burden and afflictions, standing side by side with them in their suffering. All messages will be sent to the Christian parishes in the Holy Land.

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Holy Land: 'real purpose of Separation Wall is not security, but to acquire more territory'
Holy Land: 'real purpose of Separation Wall is not security, but to acquire more territory'

It has been five months since the lands in the area of Beir Onah, near the Cremisan monastery, were confiscated by the State of Israel. Last August, Israeli bulldozers came unannounced and uprooted 50 olive trees that were over 1,500 years old, in preparation for the construction of the Separation Wall. Peaceful weekly demonstrations were held to denounce this decision; but demonstrators were being dispersed with tear gas. Daily prayers continue on the premises with the participation of religious representatives, diplomatic delegations and

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Holy Land: land taken, ancient olive trees uprooted in Cremisan Valley
Holy Land: land taken, ancient olive trees uprooted in Cremisan Valley

Five months have gone by since the land in the area of Beir Onah, next to the monastery in Cremisan, was confiscated by the State of Israel. In August, bulldozers uprooted 50 olive trees which were as old as 1500 years in order to continue the construction of the separation wall. An account of the latest developments of the "Cremisan case", connected to the construction of the separation barrier imposed by the Israeli authorities, and built largely on Palestinian land, were published by the official media of the Latin Patriarchate.

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Bethlehem: Christians prepare for quieter than usual Christmas
Bethlehem: Christians prepare for quieter than usual Christmas

In the Holy Land, preparations for Christmas this year are much quieter than usual this year, after an outburst of violence across Israel and the West Bank in which at least 123 people: 105 Palestinians and 17 Israelis have been killed since 1 October. Many more have been injured. Extremist Jewish groups have also protested against the celebration of Christmas. The richly decorated Christmas tree is taking a prominent place at Manger Square in Bethlehem, and is brightly illuminated. Some streets are also decorated, but less brightly than usual.

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Holy Land: Campaign launched to free child prisoners
Holy Land: Campaign launched to free child prisoners

An international campaign has been launched this week aiming to pressure the Israeli government to release child Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian Prisoners' Society said in a statement.' The Ministry of Education is sponsoring the campaign, entitled: 'Give Them Space to Learn and Play'. As part of the project, Palestinian schoolchildren will write letters and come up with messages to send to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. The letters will focus on Israeli violations against Palestinian children, which have escalated since upheaval swept the

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Kairos Statement on UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Kairos Statement on UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Sunday, 29th November 2015, is the first day of Advent as well as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People initiated by the United Nations. Tragically in Palestine, this time of Advent is beginning at a very dark time. In Bethlehem, clashes erupt almost daily, Israeli forces have closed down Hebron completely and Palestinian Jerusalemites are facing another round of harsh discrimination and house demolitions. In fact, instead of preparing for Christmas,

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Olive harvest in the Holy Land
Olive harvest in the Holy Land

This year's olive harvest has begun again across the Holy Land. In some places it is passing very peacefully. Elsewhere in the Occupied Territories, there is no harvest as Israeli settlers have chopped down Palestinian-owned olive groves or set them on fire. The Franciscan Friars in the Holy Land and Jewish Rabbis For Human Rights have issued these reports today: The olive harvest in the Garden of Gethsemani began on Saturday, and will last at least one week. As usual, the Franciscan friars, guardians of the sacred garden where Jesus prayed on Holy Thursday,

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WCC expresses deep concern over renewed violence in Jerusalem
WCC expresses deep concern over renewed violence in Jerusalem

The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed deep concern over the renewed wave of violence in Jerusalem. In a letter to WCC member churches in Palestine and Israel issued on 19 October, he expressed solidarity with the churches and peoples of the land, and affirmed WCC's commitment to justice and peace in Palestine and Israel. "We are following with increasing dismay events throughout the region and especially in the Holy City of Jerusalem,

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Jerusalem Situation Update: Is this an Intifada?
Jerusalem Situation Update: Is this an Intifada?

I returned home on 3 October 2015 after a one week visit to New York to attend our annual meetings at Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), only to find a Jerusalem that was completely different than the one I left a week earlier. Upon returning, it took me close to two hours to arrive to my home in the Old City of Jerusalem, though it was a Saturday and traffic is usually very light. I found out later that the deadly stabbing of two Jewish people inside Damascus Gate coincided with my landing at the airport. We all thought this was an isolated incident

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Bishop Declan Lang voices concern over mounting violence in Holy Land
Bishop Declan Lang voices concern over mounting violence in Holy Land

Bishop Declan Lang has issued the following statement this afternoon: As Chair of International Affairs at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales, and also of the Holy Land Coordination, I have been following with mounting concern the violence that has taken hold again in many parts of Israel and Palestine. As I pray for the dead and injured from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides, I also call upon both communities and their leaderships to exercise restraint and refrain from going down the slippery road of tit-for-tat killings and mutual recrimination.

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Holy Land: Call for protection & boycott  after another child is killed by Israeli army
Holy Land: Call for protection & boycott after another child is killed by Israeli army

A large demonstration passes our house. The flags show that all Palestinian factions participate. Shops are closed, there is a general strike in Bethlehem. My colleagues are at home too, and my son Tamer got a leave from school. We hear the Israeli army shooting. Yesterday a 13-year old boy from Aida refugee camp in northern Bethlehem was killed by the Israeli army. Possibly by fire from an Israeli military watchtower built in the Wall. After the Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and Nablous, hundreds of Palestinian youth have been injured during demonstrations,

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Holy Land: When will justice be done?

The Westminster Justice and Peace Commission would like to support the statement made recently by the Canadian Bishops Conference in connection with the sad situation in that region near Bethlehem, the Cremisan Valley. Many thought that when the Israeli High Court agreed that the Separation Wall should not be built through the valley, that this would be binding. But no, the plans went ahead to divide families from their land; uproot olive trees set for generations and the only means of livelihood for the families concerned.

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Israel: Attorney General says government 'should' offer compensation to torched church
Israel: Attorney General says government 'should' offer compensation to torched church

The Israeli Attorney General has announced that compensation 'should' be offered to the Benedictine Monastery of Tabgha. The Church located on the northern bank of the Sea of Galilee was torched on June 18 by terrorists affiliated to the radical right wing in Israel. On the July 29 and 30, three suspects were arrested. According to Shin Bet, they allegedly belong to "a group of radical ideologists, active since 2013 and suspected of anti-Christian acts and aggression against Palestinian civilians". A wave of large-scale mobilization and repeated testimonials of solidarity

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Holy Land: Agreement reached on Christian schools
Holy Land: Agreement reached on Christian schools

The Secretary of Christian Schools in Israel and the Ministry of Education reached a agreement on Sunday. After three weeks of strike, 33,000 students are back to school. The strike was called when the Israeli government announced last month that it was cutting funding to all Christian schools and at the same time cutting the amount schools were allowed to charge students. This meant that Christian schools could not afford to stay open. The official statement of the Secretary of Christian Schools follows: By the grace of God and after long negotiations,

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Canadian Bishops urge government to intervene over Cremisan Valley
Canadian Bishops urge government to intervene over Cremisan Valley

The President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau, has written again to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking that the Government of Canada "call on the Israeli authorities to find a just resolution" to the decision this past July by Israel's Supreme Court. The Court's ruling allows the military to locate a security wall in the Cremisan Valley so it cuts off 58 Palestinian Christian families from their agricultural lands.

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Call for solidarity with Christian communities of Holy Land
Call for solidarity with Christian communities of Holy Land

Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Eamon Martin, Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences of England & Wales, and Ireland, have called for solidarity with, and prayer for the Christian communities who live in the Holy Land. The Cardinal and Archbishop were returning from the Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) which had been meeting in Galilee and Jerusalem at the invitation of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. The European bishops visited the Christian communities in Nazareth, Mil'ya and Bethlehem,

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Israel takes land from 58 Christian families, stops building of soccer field
Israel takes land from 58 Christian families, stops building of soccer field

United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) condemns Israel's theft of land from 58 Christian families in the Cremisan Valley and the stop-work order for a soccer field in the Muslim village of Wadi Foquin. Both are in the Bethlehem district, and Bethlehem residents believe these actions are part of an effort to drive Christians and Muslims from the region. The United Methodist Church has close connections in the area, and sponsors several projects in Wadi Foquin, where the soccer field was being built in part with United Methodist donations.

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Bethlehem Reflection:  The bulldozer and the clarinet
Bethlehem Reflection: The bulldozer and the clarinet

Rev Saliba Rishmawi prays and speaks behind an improvised open air altar under the watchful eye of Israeli soldiers behind him accompanied by an Israeli military jeep. He seems relaxed, but his words are strong. "Here it happens that land, trees and people are destroyed." It is Wednesday 2 September. In the presence of a German Pax Christi group from Augsburg we stand at the foot of the imposing high bridge in Beit Jala used by Israeli settlers traveling between Jerusalem and the Hebron and Gush Etzion settlements. A road that cannot be used by Palestinians from

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New Report: 'The Last Nail in Bethlehem's Coffin: The Annexation Wall in Cremisan'
New Report: 'The Last Nail in Bethlehem's Coffin: The Annexation Wall in Cremisan'

This new report by The Society of St Yves - Catholic Center for Human Rights is a comprehensive summary and analysis of the Cremisan Valley case. The report aims to shed light on the grave violation of building the annexation wall in Cremisan and its destructive effect on the Palestinian Christian families living in the area. The report aims to condense all the proceedings and developments of the case from 2006, starting with a review of the history of the case and its main elements.

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Israeli army attacks Christian protest after Mass
Israeli army attacks Christian protest after Mass

Israeli forces attacked a protest rally by Palestinian Christians following Sunday Mass yesterday. Priests, patriarchs and other church leaders processed with crosses to an area where more land has been confiscated to extend the Separation Wall in the Christian majority town of Beit Jala, in the occupied West Bank, near Bethlehem. Last week bulldozers moved into an ancient olive grove, uprooting trees dating back to the time of Jesus. Two parishioners were arrested. Many more suffered from the effects of tear gas inhalation. Protesters also condemned the illegal Israeli settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo,

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Israel: Christian schools closed until further notice; 'positive' discussion with President Rivlin
Israel: Christian schools closed until further notice; 'positive' discussion with President Rivlin

On Monday, 24 August, 2015, in Jerusalem, the negotiating committee of Christian Schools, chaired by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, met Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, with the Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, and a delegation from the Ministry, to discuss the crisis facing the Christian schools in Israel. President Rivlin opened the meeting by welcoming the role of the Christian schools in Israel. He highlighted the importance of the exceptional educational experience these schools provided for very many years.

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Don't be scared. Come to Bethlehem!
Don't be scared. Come to Bethlehem!

'Come to Bethlehem! Christians need the solidarity of pilgrims'. This is the message sent by Sr Donatella Lessio from the Caritas Baby Hospital of Bethlehem. In a video published on Tuesday, Sr Donatella Lessio, who has worked at the hospital for many years, says there has been a considerable drop in the number of pilgrims, from Europe especially, because people are concerned about security. "There is nothing to fear!" Sr Donatella said. "Here everything is quiet.

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Holy Land: EU Mission voices concern over decision to build Separation Wall through Cremisan
Holy Land: EU Mission voices concern over decision to build Separation Wall through Cremisan

The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah have released a statement on the Israeli Supreme Court's decision to allow the construction of a section of the Separation Barrier through the Cremisan Valley. The statement, which is dated 10 July, expresses "deep regret and concern" regarding the court's decision. It says: "If built - this Barrier will severely restrict access of 58 Palestinian families from their agricultural land and profoundly affect their livelihoods. It will also involve a further encroachment on Palestinian land close to Bethlehem,

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Holy Land: Archbishop arrested during peaceful protest over seizure of church property
Holy Land: Archbishop arrested during peaceful protest over seizure of church property

Israeli forces arrested Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna, on Saturday, as he took part in a march protesting over the illegal seizure of a Christian hospital which is part of al-Baraka Presbyterian church complex, north of Hebron. A delegation from the Presbyterian church as well as international and Israeli peace activists took part in the march against the sale of the hospital, which provided medical services to Palestinians. The sale is illegal under international and canonical law.

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Israel: Extremist Jews pose growing threat to Christians
Israel: Extremist Jews pose growing threat to Christians

AN arson attack on a church in Israel revered as the site of a miracle by Jesus Christ is part of a deepening cycle of violence against Christians, according to a Holy Land bishop who fears worse is to come. Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said the attack on Thursday, 18th June) on the Catholic Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves close to the Sea of Galilee increases his concerns that extremist Jews are out to target other faith communities, notably Christians. A Benedictine monk and a visitor to the site in Tabgha were treated for

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Holy Land: Jewish settlers destroy ancient church on Sea of Galilee
Holy Land: Jewish settlers destroy ancient church on Sea of Galilee

An ancient Catholic church on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, well-known to pilgrims to the Holy Land, has been badly damaged by Jewish settlers in an arson attack. The extremist group attacked the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves at Tabgha, which is believed to be the site where Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes. Media sources said the fire caused heavy material damage to the church. The attackers also spray-painted anti-Christian grafitti in Hebrew on its walls, reading: 'the false gods will be eliminated.'
 There have been several attacks on Christian property in Israel in

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 Holy Land: Jewish and Christian groups rally to save village facing obliteration

Holy Land: Jewish and Christian groups rally to save village facing obliteration


Christian and Jewish campaigners, together with representatives from EU countries have travelled to the ancient Palestinian village of Susiya, which is under threat of demolition...EU representative in Jerusalem, John Gatt-Rutter, said: "our presence here today indicates how seriously we in the EU view the intention to demolish this village and its structure and evict its residents. But Susiya isn't an isolated case. It's hard not to draw parallels with what's happening elsewhere in the West Bank and with Bedouin communities."

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Pax Christi  calls for recognition of  state of Palestine, ban on settlements
Pax Christi calls for recognition of state of Palestine, ban on settlements

In a final statement at the end of their meeting in Bethlehem, Pax Christi International has reaffirmed its recognition of the state of Palestine, a ban on settlements and its stand in favour of nonviolent struggle against occupation. The World Assembly of Pax Christi urges all UN-member states to recognize the state of Palestine and to ban Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine. The 160 participants in the Assembly of the international Catholic peace movement in Bethlehem/West Bank from 13th to 17th of May are deeply concerned about Israeli policies that deny the rights

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Jerusalem: Patriarch welcomes forthcoming canonization of two Palestinian saints
Jerusalem: Patriarch welcomes forthcoming canonization of two Palestinian saints

Jerusalem's Latin Patriarchate has hailed the upcoming canonisation in Rome this Sunday, by Pope Francis of two nuns who will become the first modern-day Palestinian saints: Marie Alphonsine Ghattas of Jerusalem and Mariam Bawardy of Galilee, both of whom lived in Ottoman Palestine during the 19th century. "We are in full preparation," Bishop William Shomali sai. The pair's canonisation "means that holiness is still possible, that.. spiritual perfection is still possible," "Our Holy Land continues to be holy, not only because of the holy places it hosts, but also because good people live here."

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Ecological Justice issues in the Jordan Valley - 2
Ecological Justice issues in the Jordan Valley - 2

Buses lined up outside the venue of the Pax Christi International Assembly at noon today to take the 160 participants out on exposure visits. My busload was off to the Jordan Valley to focus on 'Ecological Justice: Promoting Sustainable Peace'. As we tucked into our packed lunches we passed the one and a half hour journey being constantly reminded that we were in locations prominent in the story of Jesus. We noted the 'Shepherds' Fields' in East Jerusalem, the 'Samaritan Inn' on the road to Jericho and of course the Jordan River where Jesus was baptised. In Jericho itself

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Jewish liberals welcome Vatican recognition of Palestinian state
Jewish liberals welcome Vatican recognition of Palestinian state

Jewish liberals and progressives have reacted with enthusiasm to the announcement today that the Vatican will recognize the Palestinian State. Rabbi Michael Lernner, editor of Tikkun Magazine: the US-based quarterly Jewish and Interfaith Critique of Politics, Culture and Society, said in a statement on May 13: "Many liberal and progressive Jews congratulate the Vatican on the important step toward peace it took yesterday in announcing that it will recognize the State of Palestine.

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Holy Land: Hebron  Old City under water, under occupation
Holy Land: Hebron Old City under water, under occupation

After just a few short hours of rain, dozens of Palestinian shopkeepers in Hebron have spent the past week salvaging their stores' goods and exhausting their modest bank accounts to return places of business into working order. To a simple passer-by, the flooding would have looked like the rare product of circumstances: poor infrastructure and the Old City's location at a point in Hebron lower than the surrounding hills. But that isn't the whole story. More than 100 roadblocks, checkpoints, and barricaded alleyways restrict and control the movement of Palestinians in Hebron.

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Watch: Holy Week in  Jerusalem
Watch: Holy Week in Jerusalem

From the Palm Sunday procession, celebrating the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, prayers commemorating Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Mass of the Last Supper, the Via Dolorosa on the way to Calvary, to the Easter Midnight Vigil Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - all the celebrations for Holy Week and Easter time in Jerusalem can be seen on the website of Christian Media Center - Terra Santa.com.

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Holy Land: Israeli court halts building of Separation Wall in Cremisan
Holy Land: Israeli court halts building of Separation Wall in Cremisan

News just in! The Palestinian News Network report: The Israeli High Court delivered its final decision on the Cremisan valley case this morning, Thursday the 2nd of April 2015, in favor of the petition against building the apartheid separation wall in Cremisan, after a legal battle that has started in 2006. The residents of Beit Jala whose privately owned lands were to be confiscated by building the wall appealed the Israeli Court in 2006. The Society of St Yves later joined the appeal representing the Salesian Nuns Convent. The ruling which was delivered by a committee

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 Jewish peace coalition in solidarity visit to  vandalised Palestinian village
Jewish peace coalition in solidarity visit to vandalised Palestinian village

Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) report: Last week, on Purim (March 5 2015), cars were torched and racist graffiti scrawled on a home in the Palestinian village of Murayer. In response, the Tag Meir Coalition organized a solidarity visit with the village yesterday, March 15, which included an amazing theatre performance for the children (and adults!). 
RGR said: ":We thank all who came out for the event and showed the residents of Murayer a different side of Judaism - one that is compassionate and caring!"

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Holy Land: Volunteers arrested while walking children from  kindergarten
Holy Land: Volunteers arrested while walking children from kindergarten

Yesterday, Israeli Border Police arrested two Christian Peacemaker Team members while they were walking Palestinian children from kindergarten just after noon. The CPTers were taken to the police station near the Ibrahimi Mosque, then moved to a police station in the Givat Havot settlement, and finally released at 5.20pm. Israeli police did not press formal charges. For several weeks, members of CPT Palestine have accompanied children from the Al Saraya Kindergarten,

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Holy Land: Arson attack on Jerusalem seminary
Holy Land: Arson attack on Jerusalem seminary

In the early hours today, Thursday 26 February, an arson attack damaged the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate's Theological Seminary of Jerusalem, not far from the Old Town. The fire devastated a hall of the seminar and some annexes. The unknown attackers also wrote blasphemous sentences against Christ on the walls, in Hebrew. No one was injured. The attack was immediately condemned in a statement by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land.

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Holy Land: US Bishop urges Congress to intervene over endangered Cremisan Valley
Holy Land: US Bishop urges Congress to intervene over endangered Cremisan Valley

Congress should urge the government of Israel to halt unnecessary confiscation of Palestinian lands in the Occupied West Bank, a move that would help address the plight of Christian Palestinians in the Cremisan Valley and “renew hope for a just resolution to the conflict,” said the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In a February 11 letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,

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Holy Land: Over 400 Rabbis call on Netanyahu to stop  home demolitions
Holy Land: Over 400 Rabbis call on Netanyahu to stop home demolitions

More than 400 rabbis and cantors from Israel, the USA, Canada, Britain and other countries have signed a petition to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop the practice of home demolitions. Every year, hundreds of Palestinian homes are demolished due to discriminatory administrative plans created and implemented by the Israel military without significant Palestinian influence. Palestinians are very rarely allowed to build, even on their own land.

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Holy Land: Christmas Message of His Beatitude Fouad Twal 2014
Holy Land: Christmas Message of His Beatitude Fouad Twal 2014

His Beatitude Fouad Twal gave his Christmas message through his Vicar in Jerusalem and Palestine, Bishop William Shomali, during a press conference held on Thursday  at Terra Santa College. The day also marked the inaugurate of  the new Christian Media Center (CMC)....'The celebration of the Birth of Jesus promises mercy, love, and peace to countless people in their suffering and tribulation; to people who see their lives shattered and their efforts broken in the tumultuous strife and hatred of our stormy days.

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Holy Land: Israeli settlers stab Palestinian boy on his family’s land
Holy Land: Israeli settlers stab Palestinian boy on his family’s land

Israeli settlers attacked 17-year-old Palestinian boy, on his family land in Bani Naim, on the outskirts of Al-Khalil/Hebron on Sunday. Moad Al Rajabi was sitting with his father, Noahi, and two of his cousins, when settler cars stopped nearby. As seven settlers exited the cars and came towards them, Noah ran away with his two nephews, believing that his son was also with him. He soon realised his son was not there, and turned to see his son encircled by the settlers. The seven were stabbing Moad, but fled as Noah ran back in a bid to rescue his son

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Cardinal Nichols celebrates Mass in Gaza
Cardinal Nichols celebrates Mass in Gaza

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who is leading the Westminster Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, celebrated Mass for the small Catholic community there yesterday. Cardinal Vincent said: "It was a great privilege to be with them and to convey to them the support and prayers of our Catholic community here on this pilgrimage and in our Diocese of Westminster. They were very grateful." He went on to say: "I thanked them for their courage and I encouraged them to be consistent and faithful to their presence in all the difficulties that Gaza 

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UK Churches:  Right of Palestinians to independent statehood 'long overdue'
UK Churches: Right of Palestinians to independent statehood 'long overdue'

Anglican and Catholic bishops have given their full support to an historic vote in Parliament that will call on the government to recognise Palestine as a state. Labour backbencher Grahame Morris will present the motion as MPs today,  as return to the Commons.The motion has the full backing of the Labour shadow cabinet. The Bishops say in a statement: "At a time of great uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa, we hold that it is the reasonable aspiration of all peoples to belong to a state and enjoy the merits of full and active citizenship on their own lands. 

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Film: Open Bethlehem
Film: Open Bethlehem

There was a standing ovation last Wednesday, at the end of a preview screening of Leila Sansour's new documentary film: Open Bethlehem, at the Royal Geographical Society. Broadcaster Melvyn Bragg introduced the film and led a Q&A afterwards. While many Christians will have been to the 'Holy Land', and spent days visiting places with such evocative names - the Sea of Galilee, Cana, Nazareth and Jerusalem - very often Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born, is left out altogether - or tacked on to pilgrimage itineraries as a one-hour stop 

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Holy Land: US Bishops renew calls for peace, two-state solution
Holy Land: US Bishops renew calls for peace, two-state solution

US bishops affirmed that prayer is powerful, peace is possible and that support for a two-state solution is an essential  imension of pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace in a September 22 communique, following a Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace in the Holy Land. Eighteen US bishops visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories from September 11-18. “There is no military solution to the conflict, but tragically violence on both sides undermines the trust needed to achieve peace. 

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Holy Land: After Gaza ceasefire, Bishop appeals for pilgrims to visit
Holy Land: After Gaza ceasefire, Bishop appeals for pilgrims to visit

After a ceasefire agreement was reached on August 26 between Israel and Hamas, Bishop Ibrahim Shomali, the Latin Patriarchal vicar in Jerusalem, welcomed the end of hostilities and invited people from all over the world to resume pilgrimages to the Holy Land. “We are very pleased to announce that the recent grave war in Gaza is declared finished," Bishop Shomali said."It is, once again, safe to resume pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and we encourage you to visit this beloved and beleaguered land.

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Holy Land: Supreme Court issues 'positive but non-definitive' answer on Cremisan
Holy Land: Supreme Court issues 'positive but non-definitive' answer on Cremisan

Israel’s Supreme Court issued its decision about the route of the Separation Wall in the Cremisan Valley on 11 August. After a hearing on 4 August, the Court reviewed the proposed routes of the Wall, which threaten to confiscate lands and vineyards of the Christian monastery and separate the religious community of the fathers and the sisters. The Court decided that it is now up to Israel, as a defendant, to take into account different options for the route of the wall,

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Middle East: Churches begin period of prayer and fasting for peace
Middle East: Churches begin period of prayer and fasting for peace

The Christian community across Palestine has entered into a period of prayer and fasting for peace in the region. This evening, Friday 1 August, in the parish of St James in Beit Hanina a Mass for peace and for the end of the war was celebrated by Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In the afternoon, Father Mario Cornioli, a priest in Beit Jala, celebrated the weekly Mass under the olive trees of the Cremisan Valley and then together with the faithful recited the rosary in front of the Separation Wall built by 

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Gaza: Cardinal Vincent Nichols appeals for immediate truce
Gaza: Cardinal Vincent Nichols appeals for immediate truce

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and  President, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has issued the following statement this morning: "Faced with the increasing violence that is engulfing the people of Gaza, my thoughts and prayers, and those of the Catholic community, are constantly with all those who have lost loved ones and whose lives are shattered in this conflict. The pain, anguish and sense of hopelessness of those men, women and children cry out that war is not the answer.

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Worldwide: youth groups hold 12 hour prayer vigil for peace in Holy Land
Worldwide: youth groups hold 12 hour prayer vigil for peace in Holy Land

Youth groups around the world will be united in prayer this evening with young people from Rome who are gathering in the Basilica of St Anastasia al Palatino, for 12 hours of continuous prayer, asking the Lord for the gift of peace in the Holy Land.The prayer vigil will begin at 6pm, with a Eucharistic celebration presided by the Rector of the Basilica, Father Alberto Pacini, and will continue hour after hour, until 6 in the morning. On Sunday, July 13, Pope Francis gave "a heartfelt appeal to continue to pray for peace in the Holy Land, 

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British Jews join worldwide fast for peace in the Holy Land
British Jews join worldwide fast for peace in the Holy Land

Today, as a response to escalation of violence in Israel, West Bank and Gaza, hundreds of British Jews are fasting against violence and in support of peace. The fast is being supported by many Rabbis from across denominations. 15th July is a Jewish fast day and this year also falls during Ramadan, a month during which Muslims fast. There are similar fasts in Israel, Palestine and all over the world with Jewish and Muslim participants. The fast within the Jewish community of the UK is organised by pro-Israel, pro-peace organisation, Yachad 

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Christian Aid calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire
Christian Aid calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

As the death toll in Gaza grows as Israel continues to bomb the densely-populated area, Christian Aid has issued the following appeal. Christian Aid is appalled at the spiralling levels of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory and calls for an immediate ceasefire to protect innocent civilians from paying the ultimate price for political failure. Christian Aid urges the UK government to give its full support to ensure a ceasefire is brokered now. Recent weeks have seen the horrific deaths of abducted teenagers in Jerusalem and Hebron,

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Amos Trust update from Gaza
Amos Trust update from Gaza

Amos Trust writes: In response to developments overnight on the Gaza border, many supporters have been in touch to ask if there has been any news from our partners in Gaza since the rocket attacks began and asking what they can can do. We have had through a report from our partners the Near East Council of Churches in Gaza City, where we support their youth training programmes. Written before the attacks intensified, the report describes increasingly desperate conditions for ordinary families - running water and sanitation are at crisis point 

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Holy Land: Patriarch appeals for human sacrifice to stop
Holy Land: Patriarch appeals for human sacrifice to stop

“It is not worthy of political and religious leaders to support, feed, foment revenge. Revenge calls for revenge, blood calls for blood. And innocent people who are killed, all the children killed, are victims sacrificed on the diabolical altars of hatred. We pray for the parents and families of all these young people kidnapped and killed”. With these words, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, expressed his dismay at the news of the 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose battered body was found 

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Holy Land:  Christian Peacemaker Teams condemn murders
Holy Land: Christian Peacemaker Teams condemn murders

The bodies of three yeshiva students, feared kidnapped on 12 June 2014 were found on the evening of 30 July 2014. The missing teens, Eyal Yifrah, age 19, Gilad Shaar, age 16 and Naftali Fraenkel, age 16 were found near the town of Halhul, just north of Hebron. This location is not far from the place that the students were thought to have been kidnapped. CPT strongly condemns these, and all murders, and we weep with the families of all who have lost loved ones, both Israeli and Palestinian,  

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Palestinian President Abbas at Invocation for Peace + video link
Palestinian President Abbas at Invocation for Peace + video link

I beseech You, O Lord, on behalf of my people, the people of Palestine ‫- Moslems, Christians and Samaritans ‫- who are craving for a just peace, dignified living, and liberty, I beseech you, Oh Lord, to make prosperous and promising the future of our people, and freedom in our sovereign and independent state; Grant, O Lord, our region and its people security, safety and stability. Save our blessed city Jerusalem; the first Kiblah, the second Holy Mosque, the third of the two Holy Mosques, and the city of blessings and peace with all that surround it.

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 Westminster: Israeli and Palestinian Ambassadors pray for peace with Cardinal Nichols
Westminster: Israeli and Palestinian Ambassadors pray for peace with Cardinal Nichols

On Friday, 6 June, Cardinal Vincent Nichols welcomed the Israeli and Palestinian Ambassadors in London, Daniel Taub and Manuel Hassassian, to Archbishop's House. Together they spent time together in prayer for peace. A diocesan spokesman said: “They did so in response to the invitation issued by Pope Francis to President Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres to come to the Vatican to pray with him for peace in the Holy Land. They united their prayers with those to be offered in the Vatican on the evening of Sunday 8 June, led by Pope Francis.

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Papal Pilgrimage seen from Gaza
Papal Pilgrimage seen from Gaza

Not everyone obtained an exit permit allowing them to gather around the Holy Father for the Mass in Bethlehem. Fr George Hernandez, Latin parish priest of Gaza, writes how the faithful left behind followed the Pope as much as possible during these three days.... We gathered as one family in our church, dedicated to the Holy Family in Latin Convent, to tune in to the Mass celebrated by His Holiness and concelebrated by our Patriarch Fouad Twal and our Patriarchal Vicar, Bishop William Shomali and many others. 

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Pope Francis recalls his pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Pope Francis recalls his pilgrimage to the Holy Land

The Holy Father arrived punctually in St Peter's Square this morning, and began his general audience by touring the square in the popemobile to greet the 35,000 faithful and pilgrims who awaited him, kissing children and blessing religious objects. He went on to speak about his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, from which he returned on Monday. “It was a great gift for the Church and I give thanks to God. He led me to that blessed Land, that has seen the historical presence of Jesus and where events fundamental to Judaism, Christianity and Islam took place”.

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Pope Francis in Holy Land 10: Pope condemns anti-Semitic attack in Brussels
Pope Francis in Holy Land 10: Pope condemns anti-Semitic attack in Brussels

During his address at the arrival ceremony at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport yesterday, Pope Francis strongly condemned the shooting at a Jewish Museum in Brussels that took place the day before. Three people were killed outright and a fourth died today. Pope Francis said he was deeply saddened by this "brutal" and "criminal attack of anti-Semitic hatred" and offered his prayers for the victims and wounded. He also spoke about the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and reiterated that the “Two-state Solution” must become “reality and not remain merely a dream.”

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Pope Francis begins Holy Land Pilgrimage: 1 - Jordan
Pope Francis begins Holy Land Pilgrimage: 1 - Jordan

On Saturday, Pope Francis began his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the encounter between Pope Paul VI and the Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem. The plane carrying the Holy Father departed at 8.15am from Rome's Fiumicino airport. Before the flight Pope Francis briefly greeted journalists one by one who were travelling with him. He joked that he was coming like Daniel or a lamb, among them, but said he "knows the lions don’t bite" 

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Pope Francis in the Holy Land: 3 - meeting with refugees, disabled youth
Pope Francis in the Holy Land: 3 - meeting with refugees, disabled youth

Pope Francis met with a group of about 600 refugees and disabled young people in Jordan on Saturday, near the site where Our Lord was baptised. The Holy Father focused his remarks on the urgent need for peace and reconciliation in the whole Mideast region, noting especially the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq. Pope Francis praised the efforts of Catholic organisations in behalf of refugees, and urged the international community to increase its efforts to aid those in need and to achieve peace founded on justice.

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Pope Francis in the Holy Land: 4 - address to Palestinian authorities
Pope Francis in the Holy Land: 4 - address to Palestinian authorities

At 7.30 this morning the Pope transferred from the apostolic nunciature of Amman to Bethlehem by helicopter, where he arrived at 9.20am local time he then undertook by car the journey of two and a half kilometres from the heliport to the presidential palace of Bethlehem, where he was received by the president of the Palestinian State, Mahmoud Abbas. Bethlehem is first referred to in the Bible in relation to the death of Rachel and is identified with the Euphrates (the fruitful). 

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Pope Francis in the Holy Land: 5 - unscheduled stop for prayers at the Wall
Pope Francis in the Holy Land: 5 - unscheduled stop for prayers at the Wall

Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop this morning to pray at Israel’s security barrier on the way to Bethlehem where he celebrated Mass in Manger Square. His car suddenly stopped and he got out and walked through the crowds to stand in front of the barrier and pray before it.  Before leaving Rome for his visit to the Holy Land, Pope Francis insisted his pilgrimage was of a “strictly religious” nature. Yet even before his helicopter touched down in Bethlehem early on Sunday morning, it was quite clear that, like every other high profile visitor 

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Pope asks for prayers ahead of visit to Holy Land
Pope asks for prayers ahead of visit to Holy Land

At the end of his weekly General Audience yesterday, Pope Francis announced that he was about to leave for the Holy Land, and appealed for prayers. The Holy Father said the first reason for his visit was "to meet my brother, Bartholomew," the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, to mark the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople. The meeting launched a new era of ecumenical cooperation and dialogue.

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Holy Land: Gaza Christians also want to meet Pope Francis
Holy Land: Gaza Christians also want to meet Pope Francis

While great preparations are underway in Israel and Palestine, ahead of Pope Francis' visit next week, in the Gaza Strip little is happening. Although this area is part of the Holy Land – the Holy Family passed through it on their way to Egypt – it is a separated area. Isolated from the world because of a siege that has lasted several years, many people living in the Gaza Strip feel that the world has forgotten them. For the small Christian community of Gaza every day is a new challenge. During the month of May, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, 

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Holy Land: Patriarch Fouad Twal publicly condemns 'Price Tag' attacks
Holy Land: Patriarch Fouad Twal publicly condemns 'Price Tag' attacks

Less than two weeks before Pope Francis visits the Holy Land, Patriarch Fouad Twal has spoken out against the growing number of 'Price Tag' attacks on Christians, Muslims and Druze in Israel and urged the government to act. At a press conference in Haifa on Sunday, he said: "All of you are well aware of the recent acts of vandalism against Christians, Muslims and Druze. There has been a marked increase of “price tag” provocations within Israel. "This wave of extremist actions of terror, are surely of grave concern to all reasonable persons.

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Holy Land: Nine days of prayer ahead of Pope Francis' visit
Holy Land: Nine days of prayer ahead of Pope Francis' visit

Nine days of special prayer have been organized in preparation for Pope Francis' pastoral visit to the Holy Land which is planned for 24 to 26 May. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Latins, the Jerusalemite Churches and Christian communities has called for the prayers to spiritually prepare and support the Pope's pilgrimage and his meeting with the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, which will take place in the holy city. This meeting, held 50 years after the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem, intends to bring positive renewal 

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Jerusalem: Local Christians barred from attending Holy Week services
Jerusalem: Local Christians barred from attending Holy Week services
While pilgrims from around the world are flocking to Jerusalem to attend Holy Week services, many local Christians are not being allowed to join them. Under the 'permit regime' - some members of a family to travel while other are barred.  Entire scout and school groups who have been preparing for weeks have not received permits. In this article, Rifat Kassis, general coordinator of Kairos Palestine, and a member of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum Core group shares a reflection where he describes the emotional anguish
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Holy Land: Christian centre rejects 'divisive' new Israeli law
Holy Land: Christian centre rejects 'divisive' new Israeli law
Christian groups in the Holy Land are rejecting a controversial new law that distinguishes between Muslim and Christian Arab citizens for the first time. On 23 February, 2014, the Israeli Knesset enacted the law that recognizes Muslim and Christian Arab communities as separate identities, giving them their own representation in an employment commission. The law passed by a margin of 31 to 6. Palestinian Anglican priest, Rev Naim Ateek .. writes: "The new law passed by the Knesset favouring Christians is .. a deceitful political stunt
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US bishops renew plea for Israel to stop unnecessary confiscation of Palestinian lands
US bishops renew plea for Israel to stop unnecessary confiscation of Palestinian lands
The United States should urge the government of Israel to cease and desist in efforts to unnecessarily confiscate Palestinian lands in the Occupied West Bank, said the chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to Secretary of State John Kerry.  In a 28 January letter, Bishop Richard E Pates, specifically addressed the situation in the Cremisan Valley, which he visited earlier this month.  "As I stood amidst the beauty of this agricultural valley and heard the testimony of the Christian families
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Archbishop Longley: 'Remember suffering Church in Holy Land and Middle East during Christian Unity Week'
Archbishop Longley: 'Remember suffering Church in Holy Land and Middle East during Christian Unity Week'
In an address at Coventry Cathedral on Sunday to mark the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley,  highlighted how shared unity prompts us to remember “our brothers and sisters of the suffering Church in the Holy Land and the Middle East.” He referenced the work of “organisations such as the Friends of the Holy Land” which “draw together Christians from all our Churches in prayerful and practical support of these ancient Christian communities to whom we owe so much.”
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International bishops' delegation:  'Gaza is a man-made disaster, a shocking scandal'
International bishops' delegation: 'Gaza is a man-made disaster, a shocking scandal'
The Christian community of Gaza was the focal point of this year's visit to the Holy Land by Bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa in support of the local Christian communities and the pastoral work of the Church at the service of all in the Holy Land.  The visiting Bishops make up the Holy Land Co-ordination, mandated by the Holy See, focusing on prayer, pilgrimage and advocacy for justice and peace with the aim of acting in solidarity with the Christian community there
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Bishops fly out to support Palestinian Christians:  visits to Gaza, Bethlehem
Bishops fly out to support Palestinian Christians: visits to Gaza, Bethlehem
The Christian community of Gaza will be the focal point of this year’s visit to the Holy Land by Bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa in support of the local Christian communities and the pastoral work of the Church at the service of all in the Holy Land. The Holy Land Co-ordination will meet from 12 January to 16 January, 2014. The Christian community of Gaza is made up of 2,500 people, of whom Catholics number around 300, in a total population of over 1.5 million. Religious sisters run a home for the elderly, a centre for the disabled
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Holy Land: Rain falls after longest drought in 60 years - answer to prayers
Holy Land: Rain falls after longest drought in 60 years - answer to prayers
After the longest drought in more than half a century - it has started raining in the Holy Land and further rain is expected from the South of Jerusalem up to Tiberias, passing through Haifa and Ramallah. "Rainfall is rare, but when it pours, it overflows" the website of the Latin Patriarchate says. The region has experienced the hottest temperatures on record in recent months and the shortage of water was beginning to be such a matter of concern that last week Patriarch Fouad Twal called on the faithful of the Holy Land to “pray for God’s blessing,
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Holy Land: Israel demolishes house belonging to Latin Patriarch
Holy Land: Israel demolishes house belonging to Latin Patriarch
In the same week that US Secretary of State John Kerry has been visiting the Holy Land in an effort to broker peace talks beween Israel and Palestine, bulldozers of the Jerusalem Municipality, accompanied by Israeli Security forces, demolished a house belonging to the Patriarch of Jerusalem Mgr Fouad Twai. The residential property on the Jerusalem-Hebron road, near the northern checkpoint number 300 was home to a family of 14 people. The Patriarch inspected the demolished home yesterday, in the company of Bishop William Shomali,
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Holy Land: CPT notes Israeli soldiers' treatment of Down's Syndrome boy
Holy Land: CPT notes Israeli soldiers' treatment of Down's Syndrome boy
A few days ago, my teammate Alwyn and I were sidetracked by phone call as we left for a food shopping trip. Another international monitoring group here in Hebron asked us to check out a situation at the container checkpoint that separates the H-1 area (under nominal Palestinian control) from H-2 (under full Israeli military control) in Hebron. Soldiers had stopped a staffer from a kindergarten near Qurtuba School who was bringing in a box of snacks for the children,
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Holy Land: Latin Patriarch in historic meeting with Israeli Tourism Minister
Holy Land: Latin Patriarch in historic meeting with Israeli Tourism Minister
Yesterday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem met the Tourism Minister of Israel for the first time, to discuss enhanced cooperation on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Dr Landau said: “This meeting heralds the beginning of enhanced and prolonged cooperation between the ministry and the Catholic Church. Pilgrimage serves as a bridge for peace, bringing together peoples and cultures from around the world.” The Patriarch spoke of a “spirit of authentic cooperation and strong communication. We share a mutual interest in providing hospitality and services for pilgrims
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Holy Land: Settlers burn Palestinian family olive grove for eighth time
Holy Land: Settlers burn Palestinian family olive grove for eighth time
Sunday, 28 July, settlers from Tel Rumeida set fire to Hani Abu Heike’s olive grove. The Abu Haikel family has lived in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood for generations, and has been under constant attack from nearby settlers since settlers established their presence there in the 1980s. Members of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron arrived while fire department and internationals were extinguishing the flames with hoses and buckets. Hani Abu Haikel told team members: “This has become a yearly thing,”
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'New bond' between Archbishop of Canterbury and Christians in Holy Land
'New bond' between Archbishop of Canterbury and Christians in Holy Land
Palestinian church leaders prayed for Archbishop Justin Welby when he visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on his last day in Jerusalem. Archbishop Justin was told by Palestinian church leaders on Friday that the time he spent with them had created "a new bond between you and the Christian community of Jerusalem and the Holy Land”. Meanwhile the Archbishop said his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land as Archbishop had reminded him of the essential “unity of Christians”, who despite any differences are bound together by the love of Christ.
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Archbishop Longley: 'On Good Friday we are united with Christians who suffer for their faith'
Archbishop Longley: 'On Good Friday we are united with Christians who suffer for their faith'
Archbishop Bernard Longley spoke of the suffering Christians of the Holy Land and the Middle East in his homily during the Good Friday Liturgy, at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham. Archbishop Bernard Longley said: "In St John's account of the Passion we have drawn near to Jesus on the cross so that we can see his sacrifice with eyes that are already enlightened by our experience of his resurrection. "Through baptism we have joined with our Lord sacramentally in his death and resurrection
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Anglican bishop says civil society is key to building peace in Holy Land
Anglican bishop says civil society is key to building peace in Holy Land
The Anglican Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Right Revd Peter Price, says civil society is the key to 'unlocking peace' in Israel/Palestine. He made the comments in a debate in the House of Lords after his recent trip to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Bishop Peter was part of a delegation led by Christian Aid, which travelled to the region with the object of encouraging Israeli and Palestinian partners in the vital task of peace promotion. During the eight day trip, Bishop Peter met a number of Christian Aid partners, including B'Tselem,
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Appeal for Cliff Richards to sing for Christians in Bethlehem
As a big Cliff Richards fan - I was thrilled to see him sing at World Youth Day in Germany in 2005 - where Pope Benedict came too - I am very sorry to hear that he is just going to sing in Tel Aviv in Israel - where there are very few Christians. If he is going to go to the Holy Land he MUST be a peacemaker and go to Bethlehem - the birthplace of Jesus and home to descendants of the first Christians - who are all Palestinian.
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Holy Land: common problems are bringing Christians together
Holy Land: common problems are bringing Christians together
The difficulties facing Christians in Israel and Palestine have helped bind them together and break down divisions between the Churches – according to the new ambassador representing the Pope. Speaking at the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 – 25 January), Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, described marked improvements in ecumenical relations over the past 30 years.
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Appeal to save Garden of Gethsemane
I was shocked to hear that the authorities in Jerusalem have applied for planning permission to build an army training school on the Mount of Olives. The building work will involve the destruction of the Garden of Gethsemane - where Jesus prayed on the night before he was arrested and later crucified. This is a sacred place where pilgrims of all faiths have come to pray for centuries. It is almost impossible to believe that the Israeli authorities could allow this to happen.
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Holy Land: Aid to Church in Need calls for prayer and solidarity
Holy Land: Aid to Church in Need calls for prayer and solidarity
Aid to the Church in Need is launching an appeal for prayer for peace in the Holy Land and across the Middle East amid reports of escalating violence. Just back from a trip to the Holy Land, Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK director of the charity, described the situation as “tense” and reported on how Christians and their leaders in the region had highlighted their increasing concern about the growing conflict. Mr Kyrke-Smith was leading a pilgrimage in the Holy Land on Wednesday (14 November) when the top military commander in Gaza was killed,
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Holy Land: Christian leaders support Palestine's membership of UN
Holy Land: Christian leaders support Palestine's membership of UN
A hundred Christian community leaders in the Holy Land haved signed the following letter to European countries, calling for support for Palestine’s membership in the United Nations. Palestine, the Holy Land is our homeland. Our roots here stretch for centuries. We, Palestinian Christians are the descendents of the first Christians. We are also an organic and integral component of the Palestinian people. And just like our Palestinian Muslim brothers and sisters, we have been denied our national and human rights for almost a century.
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Holy Land: more than 1,000 Palestinians face eviction to make way for Christian theme park
Holy Land: more than 1,000 Palestinians face eviction to make way for Christian theme park
Proposals for a massive new attraction for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land could lead to the eviction of hundreds of Palestinian families.  The Palestinian town of Silwan lies on the edge of East Jerusalem, just outside the walls of the Old City.  The proposed 'King’s Garden' is designed to be a theme park for tourists to walk in the footsteps of the biblical King Solomon.
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London joins 'Global March to Jerusalem'
London joins 'Global March to Jerusalem'
Supporters of Christians in the Holy Land  in London, will be joining a protest tomorrow evening (30 March) against the illegal takeover of Palestinian land by Israel. This year, campaigners around the world are using Land Day to call attention to the imminent dangers facing Jerusalem.  This initiative, 'The Global March to Jerusalem'  is being supported by
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Holy Land: mass demolition planned to make way for pilgrim theme park
Holy Land: mass demolition planned to make way for pilgrim theme park
Palestinians in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan are living in fear of imminent eviction. Last week Israeli authorities posted demolition orders on several houses in Silwan’s al-Bustan neighbourhood, which they plan to develop into a theme park. With 1,000 people set to lose their homes, this would be the largest single mass demolition since 1967.
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Archbishop to lead first Annual Westminster Diocesan Pilgrimage to Holy Land
Archbishop to lead first Annual Westminster Diocesan Pilgrimage to Holy Land
A hundred pilgrims from 24 parishes are set to take part in the first annual Diocese of Westminster Pilgrimage to the Holy Land today. The pilgrimage, which will take place from 3 - 11 November 2011, will be led The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols,  Archbishop of Westminster. The pilgrimage itinerary includes Jerusalem,  Bethlehem, Jericho, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.
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Archbishop Kelly endorses calls for peace from  Jerusalem church leaders
Archbishop Kelly endorses calls for peace from Jerusalem church leaders
On the eve of the General Assembly of the United Nations, at which Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, will ask the UN Security Council to recognise Palestine as the 194th member state of the world body, Archbishop Patrick Kelly has endorsed the call from Jerusalem’s Heads of Churches for intensified prayers and diplomatic efforts for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
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Film: 'Beit Sahour, a Living Heritage'
Film: 'Beit Sahour, a Living Heritage'
So often we see sad images from the Holy Land, but this film is different. 'Beit Sahour, a Living Heritage' is a short documentary from a town on the West Bank near Bethlehem,  which  shows a few annual events and daily scenes in the lives of  the people who live there - Muslim, Jewish and Christian.  There are flashback to times of crisis - but mostly this film is a celebration of ordinary people at their best - working, visiting hospital, at school,
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Cardinal Tauran calls for interfaith dialogue in Holy Land
Cardinal Tauran calls for interfaith dialogue in Holy Land
Pope Benedict XVI’s representative at the Holy Land Conference which took place at Lambeth Palace from 18-19 July has urged the region’s Christians, Jews and Muslims to engage in dialogue to build a shared future.  “History, like religion, teaches us that there is only one future: a shared future,” said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
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Palestinian Christian leader to speak in House of Lords
Palestinian Christian leader to speak in House of Lords
Dr Bernard Sabella, the prominent Palestinian Christian and former Professor of Sociology at Bethlehem University, will address a gathering of political and church leaders on Wednesday 18 May at the House of Lords... Dr Sabella has written: "Jesus came in peace and spoke peace, but what do we do with our greetings of peace in the Holy Land?
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Holy Land: Vacancies for Ecumenical Accompaniers
Holy Land: Vacancies for Ecumenical Accompaniers
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI)  has vacancies for volunteers next year, working as human rights observers.  The EAPPI provides protection by presence, monitors human rights abuses, supports Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and advocates for an end to the occupation.
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Holy Land: violent attacks in Israel and Gaza
Holy Land: violent attacks in Israel and Gaza
Yesterday was the most violent day in the Holy Land for many months. In Jerusalem many people were injured when an explosion destroyed two buses at 3pm local time. . There were no immediate reports of deaths; however, many injured people have been taken to the Hadassah hospital.In the Gaza Strip eight people were killed, five of which civilians, and 12 injured, including three children, in a series of attacks by Israeli forces.
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John Lewis bans products from illegal settlements in Holy Land
John Lewis bans products from illegal settlements in Holy Land
Leading UK department store John Lewis has stopped stocking products manufactured in an illegal settlement in the Holy Land. The company has confirmed that it discontinued sales of Ahava Dead Sea products. John Lewis’ Managing Director, Andy Street, wrote: "As a socially responsible retailer, John Lewis takes very seriously the treatment of workers and their working conditions.
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Holy Land: 'May the sound of bells drown out the noise of weapons'
Holy Land: 'May the sound of bells drown out the noise of weapons'
Appeals for peace were made during all the liturgies in Bethlehem and Jerusalem for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. At the Midnight Mass attended by President Mahmoud Abbas,  Mr Prime Minister, Salam Fayad and many pilgrims, Patriarch Fouad Twal said: "During this Christmas season, may the sound of the bells of our churches drown the noise of weapons
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Holy Land: peace talks break down as Israel refuses to end illegal expansion
Holy Land: peace talks break down as Israel refuses to end illegal expansion
The British Government, the EU, the UN, Russia and the Arab League have  all protested today over Israel's refusal to halt illegal settlement construction, which has brought peace talks to a halt.  Israel and the Palestinians began the latest round of peace talks on 2 September at a White House ceremony. But less than a month later, negotiations have now broken down
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Holy Land Diary 6 - House of Peace by Rachel's Tomb
Holy Land Diary 6 - House of Peace by Rachel's Tomb
Our Bedouin visit over we returned to Bethlehem to  call on the  Pax Christi partner group there, the Arab Educational Institute.  We met at their SUMUD Peace House situated near the checkpoint and the wall where it encircles Rachel's Tomb.  They deliberately chose this place for the Peace House to support the few Christian families who have stayed living in the shadow of the wall.
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Holy Land Diary 5 - 'Plant Hope - Harvest Peace'
Holy Land Diary 5 - 'Plant Hope - Harvest Peace'
A short distance from Manger Square, in the road behind the Bethlehem Peace Centre are the remains of four ancient olive trees - trees that were uprooted by Israeli authorities to make way for the separation wall.  The olive tree is at the heart of the Palestinian economy and also its culture.  Since the start of the occupation of Palestine hundreds of thousands of olive trees have been uprooted.
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Holy Land Diary 3 - families deluged by rubbish thrown by settlers
Holy Land Diary 3 - families deluged by rubbish thrown by settlers
Our EAPPI friends introduced us to one of their local friends, a Palestinian called Hashim who spoke with us about the particular suffering he experiences. His house in the old town of Hebron is built on one of the many 'terrace' style slopes.  Unfortunately above him are a number of settler families who have come in and claimed land for themselves.
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Holy Land Diary (i) refugee camp by Bethlehem
Holy Land Diary (i) refugee camp by Bethlehem
A Pax Christi delegation from England is visiting the Holy Land this week. Pat Gaffney, General Secretary has sent this letter from Bethhelem. The checkpoint gate was closed when we arrived at Bethlehem on Monday evening.  After our drive from Tel Aviv, this should have been the last part of our journey, through the tourist gate of the huge terminal/checkpoint that divides Bethlehem from Israel.
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Middle East Synod asks UN to 'end Israeli occupation'
Middle East Synod asks UN to 'end Israeli occupation'
In the final statement of their two-week conference, the Synod of Middle East Bishops, meeting in Rome, said the Biblical concept of the 'Promised Land' cannot be used to justify new settlements. The bishops say they hope a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians could be lifted from dream to reality and called for peaceful conditions that would stop a Christian exodus from the region.
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Holy Land: Bedouin village destroyed
Holy Land: Bedouin village destroyed
A Bedouin village in the Negev desert was destroyed last night, the Missionary News Service reports. About 300 inhabitants of the old village of al-Arakib were woken up by 1,500 police officers in battle equipment and helicopters, telling them to leave immediately,  making way for bulldozers, which demolished 40 homes.
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Jerusalem: Latin Patriarch  appeals for Gaza siege to be lifted
Jerusalem: Latin Patriarch appeals for Gaza siege to be lifted
The situation in the Holy Land has escalated again following the violent assault on one international aid flotilla and the blocking of a second Irish boat carrying aid to Gaza. In the following interview His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and President of Caritas Jerusalem, says he hopes that the younger generation of Palestinians and Israelis will one day know peace.
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World Churches urge pilgrims to show concern for people in  Holy Land
World Churches urge pilgrims to show concern for people in Holy Land
Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land need to go beyond a mere homage to ancient sites and instead show concern for the Palestinian people living there, whose lives are severely constricted by the Israeli occupation of their land. This was the message sent by a group of 27 theologians, Palestinian Christians, tourism organizers
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Holy Land: Christians denied right to attend  Easter services
Holy Land: Christians denied right to attend Easter services
After hundreds of years of celebrating Easter in Jerusalem, Christians in the Holy Land are once again being denied freedom of worship during Holy Week by the Israeli occupation police. Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Holy Fire Saturday, and Easter Sunday are the holiest days celebrated by Christians in Jerusalem,
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Holy Land: four injured in airstrikes
Holy Land: four injured in airstrikes
At least four Palestinians were injured in an Israeli airstrike last night targeting the Tuffah neighbourhood of Gaza city, the Palestinian Maan news agency reports citing medical and security sources.  The air attack targeted a home east of Gaza City, reportedly damaging several homes.
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Pope speaks on leprosy, Holy Land, unemployment
Pope speaks on leprosy, Holy Land, unemployment
A colourful tapestry of umbrellas, and banners carpeted St Peter’s Square as thousands of pilgrims gathered in the cold and rain to hear Pope Benedict’s Angelus reflections on Sunday. Speaking from the window of his apartments, Pope Benedict reflected particularly St Paul’s 'Hymn of Charity' in his first letter to the Corinthians.
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Holy Land: Palestinians 'sentenced to death' by travel restrictions
Holy Land: Palestinians 'sentenced to death' by travel restrictions
Fidaa Talal Hijji was 18 years old when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. She died waiting for the permit to travel abroad where she was supposed to receive a bone marrow transplant; Israel’s permission arrived a day after she died.
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Catholic Bishops call for political courage to achieve peace in Holy Land
Catholic Bishops call for political courage to achieve peace in Holy Land
Catholic Bishops of the 10th Holy Land Co-ordination today urged political leaders and people of goodwill to be courageous in seeking a just peace in the Holy Land.
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Patriarch warns Christianity is dying in Holy Land
Patriarch warns Christianity is dying in Holy Land
The most senior Catholic leader in the Middle East has said  the future of the Church in the Holy Land is now in doubt unless fellow Christians around the world step up efforts to help them. Patriarch Fouad Twal said: "It seems that politicians are more afraid of peace than of war and they prefer to manage the conflict rather than solve it."
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Pope  bids farewell to Holy Land
Pope bids farewell to Holy Land
Pope Benedict concluded his pilgrimage to the Holy Land on Friday with an appeal for peace, during his address at a farewell ceremony held at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
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Pope Benedict to visit Holy Land as 'pilgrim of peace'
Pope Benedict spoke of his forthcoming visit to the Holy Land, when he received members of the Papal Foundation, a US Catholic agency,
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Ecumenical team to visit Holy Land Christians
Peace-building initiatives, housing and education issues will be highlighted when a team of ecumenical representatives from around the world
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Holy Land: Eyewitness reports from both sides of the barrier
Following a recent meeting of the International Young Leaders Network in the Holy Land, Ginny Wilmhoff on Thinking Faith recounts the narratives of the people and places
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