LIVERPOOL, England, JAN. 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The international group of bishops that makes an annual visit to the Holy Land has returned home saying there are signs of hope, but emphasizing that "to be pro-Israeli has to mean being pro-Palestinian."
In their final statement the bishops of the Holy Land Coordination, who have met in the Holy Land since 1998, noted the faith of the Christians of the region, but also their "insecurity, fear and frustration," which "dominate the life of people across this land."
"Blaming the other is an abdication of responsibility and a failure of leadership, a leadership that the people so desperately need," the bishops declared. "We have heard and we make this conviction our own: to be pro-Israeli has to mean being pro-Palestinian. This means being pro-justice for all, whose certain fruit is lasting peace."
The bishops, who come from England, the United States, Canada, Spain, Germany, France and other nations, affirmed the importance of resumed dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. "A negotiated agreement is urgently required," they stated, lamenting that dialogue is "threatened and undermined by extremism and intolerance of the other, the signs of which are only too apparent in the attitudes, judgments and actions of far too many in the world today."
"This is a concern for both sides," the bishops continued, "and we appeal for tolerance and courageous leadership, able to show forgiveness and humility, to promote peaceful co-existence."
The bishops also recognized signs of hope, mentioning the synod on the Middle East, increased tourism, interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and various humanitarian and charity projects.
"Above all our hope is nourished by the continuing witness of the Christian communities we met and with whom we celebrated our faith in Gaza, Nablus, Jerusalem and Galilee," they added. "We also recognize the progress being made on negotiations between Israel and the Holy See, with hopes for a resolution soon."
The bishops' statement concluded with a call to political leaders of both sides and from the bishops' own countries to "show courage, resolve and creativity so the simple hopes of the majority for peaceful co-existence are realized. The fidelity to their way of life of Jews, Christians and Muslims should always be such that there is deep-seated openness to all others."
--- --- ---
On the Net:
Full statement: www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-008.cfm