News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
This year’s Holy Land Coordination, which met in January, was based in Haifa and offered a different view of Christian experience in the Holy Land with the focus being on Christians (both indigenous and immigrant) living within the State of Israel.
In their; final communique the delegates spoke of ‘Standing in solidarity with Israel’s Christians’; of ‘Human dignity under occupation’ and of ‘Hope for the future’.
The Bishops recognised both the contribution of Israeli Christians to their society and the difficulties which they face:
‘Israel’s Christians wish to live as full citizens, with their rights recognised in a plural and democratic society. We have seen the vital contribution that they make especially through schools, hospitals, involvement in public life and attempting to build bridges between different faiths.
‘Yet it is clear that at the same time they face profound difficulties across all aspects of their lives. We have heard that, along with other Palestinian Arab citizens and migrants living in Israel, many Christians find themselves systematically discriminated against and marginalised.’
They went on to call on governments to help meet funding gaps following US government cuts:
‘Our delegation also travelled to Palestine, where despite the faith and resilience of those we met, the misery of occupation has been deepened by severe cuts to humanitarian funding by the US government.
‘Healthcare, education and other basic services for refugees are being increasingly threatened, exacerbating the ongoing violations of their fundamental human dignity. This cannot be ignored or tolerated.
‘We call upon our own governments to help meet the funding gaps now faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and redouble their efforts towards a diplomatic solution, with two democratic sovereign states of Israel and Palestine existing in peace.’
The Bishops concluded by expressing solidarity with the Christians in the Holy Land, ‘We admire our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land for not losing hope and we commit ourselves through prayer, pilgrimage and practical solidarity, to helping keep that hope alive’.