Latin Patriarch Tells Israel to Withdraw

VATICAN, Dec 12, 01 ( - The Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem has called on the government of Israel to take a courageous initiative, withdrawing from Palestinian territories.

The Patriarch made his suggestion in an interview published by the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana. The interview was to appear on newsstands in Rome on December 13: the opening date of a Vatican conference on the future of Christianity in the Holy Land.

Patriarch Sabbah said that Israel bears "the greatest responsibility" for the current violence in the Middle East, because so much suffering can be traced to the "cruel occupation that humiliates the Palestinians, destroys their homes, limits their movements, blocks their economic activity, and provokes misery and frustration."

"Instead of concerning himself solely with the hunt for Palestinian extremists, [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon would to better to face up to the reality of the occupation," the Palestinian prelate said. He expressed frustration that international leaders "have not recognized that the occupation is the root of the conflict."

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
12. desember 2001