Christmas in Asia, peace in wartime

Christmas prayer prohibited by police
Martyrdom, an ideal for everyone
Pope: Chist Child has changed course of history
Christmas Message: Christ saves us from the great evils
Christmas among guerrilla fighters and kidnappings
Letter from Jerusalem. Fear Not: may peace be with you!

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Early this morning about 40 Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles entered the Rafah refugee camp, near the Gaza Strip, killing 3 and leaving 20 persons wounded. The Israeli army specified that the raid is part of the military operation to search out and destroy the tunnel from Egypt to Gaza used to funnel in weapons. Yesterday,  during a clash in Gaza, a grenade exploded on a group of Israel soldiers, killing 2 of them. Meanwhile Egypt's minister of foreign affairs, Ahmed Maher, recently back in Cairo after being wounded in an attack at the Al Aqsa mosque, said the incident: "will have no impact on the essence of Egyptian policy … We are working to make sure Palestinians earn their rights back."  Upon exiting the mosque yesterday, Maher was attacked by demonstrators belonging to the radical Islamic group, Islamic Liberation Front.

News of these events pays testimony to the desire for peace that exists in the Holy Land. In a survey published in yesterday's Jerusalem Post, Palestinian support of violence used against soldiers and settlers in the occupied territory is 87%. But even if there is large support for violence, around 83% are in favor of a mutual cease to violence and 73% believe that continued violence only hinders a return to peace negotiations.  

Confusion abounds even in the Israeli camp. Yesterday Tsahal soldiers (the Israeli army) were condemned in Haifa for refusing to fight against Palestinians. Desertion and refusal to fight have become ever more commonplace among soldiers and military officers, despite being considered "patriots" and lovers of Israel.

 Given the entangled web of sentiments and choices and bitter stagnation enveloping the region, we asked Msgr. Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, to offer some clues on how to build peace and hope in the Holy Land.
Festive occasions to share food, joy
Bethlehem, sad and isolated. Christians emigrate
Christmas ideas to teach sharing
Our AsiaNews correspondent in Seoul has gathered testimony on how various persons spend Christmas. In due proportion, they also serve as advice for other Christians and people throughout the world.
Pope: Christmas is time of humility, silence, wonder, joy
Security alert for churches and urban centers at Christmas time