No visa for Palestinian and Jordanian families to attend World Meeting of Families

Only five Israeli families were able to come, along with Mgr Marcuzzo. Nazareth Christians represented the Holy Land. Many topics were discussed, including refugee families.

Dublin (AsiaNews) – For Christians from the Holy Land, the experience of the World Meeting of Families (21-26 August) was extraordinarily festive amid conferences and international meetings but also with a bitter aftertaste, noted Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the prelate stressed “a big problem, almost a scandal, because families from Palestine and Jordan did not get a visa”. Indeed, “Ireland, not Israel, refused to issue it,” he bemoaned.

By contrast, “Palestinians in Israel could come because they do not need a visa” as per an agreement signed by Israel and the European Union.

"With respect to the families from Jordan, they told us they needed three months to get a visa. Plus, Palestinians also needed a special permit to enter Israel to go to the airport, and that takes a month."

Added to the red tape, the Meeting coincided with the start of the school year, complicating matters for children.

Some five families came to Dublin from Israel: three from Nazareth (picture 2) and two from Haifa (picture 1).

For the patriarchal vicar, "The Nazareth families represent the families of the Holy Land, and this is beautiful.

Speaking about the event itself, he said that “The atmosphere is festive; there are many people and many conferences, meetings. It is extraordinary; we do nothing but go from one panel to another.”

"There are many topics: from the Pope's Amoris Laetitia and the issues that touch the family to education and the transmission of the faith. The meetings are beautiful, international, at all levels."

Among the conferences, Mgr Marcuzzo singled out yesterday’s, in which the nuncio to Syria, Card Mario Zenari, spoke about refugee families.

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