Ma'an News Agency
December 23, 2009 - 1:00am

Efforts to bring peace to the Middle East have failed, Jerusalem’s Latin patriarch Fuad Twal said Tuesday in his annual Christmas message.

“Our dreams for a reconciled Holy Land seem to be utopia. Despite the praiseworthy efforts of politicians and men of good will to find a solution to the ongoing conflict, all of us, Palestinians and Israelis, have all failed in achieving peace,” saidTwal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land.

“The reality contradicts our dreams,” he said.

“Palestinians still do not have their own state where they can live in peace and harmony with their Israeli neighbors; they still suffer from occupation, a difficult economical situation, destruction of houses in East Jerusalem and internal divisions,” Twal added.

He highlighted the Israeli blockade of Gaza as a concern.

“A year after the Gaza war, Gaza still suffers from an economic siege, lack of freedom of movement and from the contamination of its sea and water, which endangers the health of 1,500,000 citizens among which 50% are under the age of 14,” he said.

The patriarch went on to note Israeli infringement on the sanctity of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

“Unfortunately, the Al-Aasa compound recently witnessed confrontations between fundamentalists Jews who tried to invade Al-Haram Ash-Sharif [Noble Sanctuary] and the young Palestinians, who wanted to defend their holy place,” he said.

But the patriarch urged his followers not to give up hope.

“Hope means not giving in to evil, but rather standing up to it,” he said, quoting from a documents signed recently by Palestinian Christian leaders calling for resistance to the Israeli occupation and rejecting Christian Zionism.

The “Kairos Palestine” document, modeled after a 1985 document issued by South African Christian leaders calling for an end to Apartheid, declared the Israeli occupation “a sin.”


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017