Days that seem to announce peace, says Patriarch Michael Sabbah

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In his traditional Christmas message Mgr Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, writes that this year the anniversary of Christ's birth seems to be announcing "days of peace". We must hope that "political leaders are courageous enough to sign a just and final peace, one that demands painful, yet indispensable personal and collective sacrifices".

Four years of violence, he writes, should have taught us all that violence does not pay.

After all this time, "Israelis are still searching for security and Palestinians have not stopped demanding an end to occupation to be free and independent. Yet the two peoples are bound to live together in peace. We believe this is possible."

"The separating wall," Patriarch Sabbah adds, "can neither separate nor protect. It can only increase mutual hatred and ignorance; it can only be the object of hostility and violence and cause greater insecurity." It is wishful thinking on Israel's part to think that it can bring secure borders.

These days, religious leaders, the Patriarch says, have a double duty. They must "insist on justice, human dignity, security and an end to the occupation as well as show the path to peace."

"Israelis are not condemned to live in permanent insecurity and war. Palestinians, too, are not condemned to always demand an end to the occupation and walk forever the paths of death".