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» 06/15/2010
PALESTINE – ISRAEL
For Gaza priest, Israel’s occupation humiliates the Palestinian people
“There are no differences between Christians and Muslims because we all suffer the same way,” Fr Manawel Musallam says. He is in favour of a dialogue with Israel, but wants to see “concrete steps” in defence of the population. “Many factors,” he believes, “prevent us from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Gaza (AsiaNews) – Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and its occupation of Palestinian territories “are a source of humiliation for the [Palestinian] people”, and “undermine people’s lives”, said Fr Manawel Musallam, former parish priest at the Holy Family Church in Gaza. Speaking to AsiaNews, he said that Christians and Muslims are in the same boat, and suffer the same way. The Israeli government could “ease” its hold on Gaza and give a powerless population some breathing space. Yet, pressure by the international community on Israel has not changed things. “We are still under occupation and only when it ends will the situation improve,” Fr Musallam said.

For the Catholic priest, “There are no differences between Christians and Muslims because we all suffer the same way” as “the people of Palestine”.

“Christians are not threatened by Muslims,” he said. Everyone faces the same problem, that of “humiliation”. Their lives that are “disrupted” and they exist without “light, power and water”.

Years of blockade have stunted the development of the territories. “We don’t lack food, but there are no jobs, so people do not have enough money to buy it. For many, there is no future.”

Father Musallam slams Israel’s strategy of acting as if it did not have any borders. In Jerusalem, “it annexes entire pieces of land without considering that Jerusalem is equally Muslim, Christian and Jewish”.

Borders, Palestinian refugees, and Jewish settlements are unresolved problems that affect the path towards peace and reconciliation.

In Gaza, reconciliation is impossible for Fr Musallam, and the return of Palestinian refugees is not foreseeable.

As a representative of the Palestinian community, Fr Musallam is “in favour of a dialogue” with Israel. However, he also wants “to see concrete steps taken for the protection of the population”, first among them, “open crossings” because the blockade has strangled the local economy. From the international; community, he would like to “see people on the ground rather than idle chat.”

“We cannot surrender or give up hope even if Israel does not want peace,” he explained. “It is hard to send signals of hope” because there are “so many factors that prevent us from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” Yet, “I always pray with my faithful, saying that we cannot lose hope for peace.”


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See also
02/21/2006 PALESTINE – ISRAEL – HOLY LAND
No distinction is possible between Hamas and the Palestinians, says the Custodian of the Holy Land
11/06/2006 HOLY LAND
Fr Pizzaballa: Pope has made strong appeal to responsibility of all
06/19/2007 PALESTINE
Gaza priest slams barbaric attack against Sisters of the Rosary
01/21/2008 PALESTINE - ISRAEL
Gaza left in the dark by Israeli fuel embargo
by Joshua Lapide
03/17/2007 PALESTINE – ISRAEL
Palestinian Parliament approves new unity government

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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