21 October 2016
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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 09/28/2015, 00.00


    Arson attack at Bethlehem’s St Charbel Monastery, probably the work of Islamic fundamentalists, says Maronite leader

    The building, which was under renovation, suffered serious damages. The Palestinian Authority had allocated 100,000 dollars for the project. For Maronite official, the incident was an act of vandalism by Muslim radicals. Now local Christians are afraid. Still, life “must go on”.

    Bethlehem (AsiaNews) – Sobhy Makhoul, the chancellor of the Maronite Patriarchate in Jerusalem, told AsiaNews that the fire that broke out over the weekend at St Charbel Maronite Monastery (pictured) in Bethlehem was deliberately set. “It was an act of arson, not a fire caused by an electrical problem, an act of sectarian vandalism by radical Muslims.”

    The fire caused no casualties or injuries because the building is currently unoccupied and under renovation, but the damage is evident and the local Christian community is now fearful of further violence.

    The arsonists “got inside a room that had a lot of stuff, including furniture,” said Sobhy Makhoul, because the building is undergoing restoration work. "The fire reached it and spread quickly throughout the structure."

    Police sources said that Muslim extremist groups have been active in the area and the culprits are already knows and should “be soon apprehended.”

    For the chancellor of the Maronite Patriarchate, “The attack is sectarian in nature. It is anti-Christian, like many other incidents across the Middle East. Extremist groups operate in the area, including some Hamas cells. There are also some loose cannons that give vent to their ideology."

    The St Charbel Maronite Convent is located in Wadi Maali, a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood in Bethlehem. The building includes several rooms and a small chapel for prayer. The fire started in the basement and then spread to other parts of the building.

    "Last month, the Palestinian Authority donated US$ 100,000 for some repairs to the convent,” Sobhy Makhoul said. “This was a gesture of gratitude towards the patriarch and a show of support for the institution’s restoration."

    Now the Christian community is concerned, he added, but "we must go on. We belong to this land. Our existence comes with tense situations. We have to absorb what happens, not just endure it."

    Of course, like in the case of the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha, on the Sea of ​​Galilee, it is necessary for the Palestinian Authority to "prosecute those responsible so that justice is done. Every form of extremism by Jews and Muslims must be stopped,” he said.

    “As a Church, we condemn such acts of violence,” the Maronite official said. “In this regard, a lot of work has to be done to change the way preaching is done in mosques because far too often they provoke people and foments hatred. Anti-Christian hatred and violence should stop.  (DS)

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    See also

    27/12/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
    Tens of thousands of pilgrims in Bethlehem for Christmas
    The celebration unfolded peacefully, under the control of the Palestinian police. The number of tourists is up in the city. But tension remains high in the surrounding area.

    26/10/2010 PALESTINE
    Reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah to start this week
    The inter-Palestinian meeting between Fatah and Hamas could take place in a few days, according to the daily Asharq Al-Awsat. But location for the summit is contested: Fatah refuses to go to Damascus. Beirut and Sanaa possibilities.

    13/05/2009 VATICAN-PALESTINE
    Palestinians have a right to a homeland, but must reject terrorism, says Pope
    In Bethlehem Benedict XVI “pleads” with all people of the region to “put aside grievances”. Twice he recalls the Gaza conflict. He asks the Palestinian people to become a “bridge for dialogue”. Abbas speaks of “apartheid”.

    02/12/2015 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    Churches of the world to unite with Bethlehem, and ring the bells of peace
    In a world full of violence, conflict and terrorism, the Jerusalem Patriarchate plans an act of reconciliation. Every church and Christian place of worship is invited to ring its bells next Saturday night. The Custos begins Advent celebrations.

    27/12/2013 PALESTINE
    Gaza Christians banned from Bethlehem and celebrations even at Christmas
    The desire of all Gaza Christians to celebrate Christmas in the place where Jesus was born. The Israeli government bans young people between 16 and 35 years from travelling to the West Bank for religious holidays. Hamas makes concessions for Christmas, but only for the secular aspect. The religious festival relegated to churches.

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