MAGHAR, Israel, FEB. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here are the words Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio in Israel, spoke to the Christian community in Maghar, during the celebration of a solidarity Mass.
On Feb. 11-12 the village’s Christian residents were attacked by their fellow Druze villagers as Israeli police stood by without intervening.
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I am here, to convey to the Christian community and to each one of its members the solidarity, the prayers and the apostolic blessing of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.
These last days, Maghar, a pleasant village in Higher Galilee, has become unluckily famous in the world: not for deeds worthy of a human being, but for outrageous violence, which is unacceptable in a democratic state and a civilized society.
Israeli authorities themselves have spoken of “Kristallnacht” and “pogrom,” words which bring to mind abominable events in Jewish history.
There are a few facts which have to be brought to the attention of the authorities and of the public opinion:
1) Those in charge of public order and security, failing to intervene rapidly and strongly in defense of the citizens and their properties, did not prevent the human tragedy which is under our very eyes.
2) In a democratic state, no one is allowed to take the law in his own hands and do himself justice. Those who dare to do that, violate the law of civil common life, and have to be severely punished, as a pledge that such violence will not occur again. If someone thinks he has been deprived of his rights, or injustice has been done to him, he should appeal to the competent authorities to seek justice.
3) The heavy material and moral losses have to be compensated; otherwise it will appear that violence is rewarded.
4) The authorities of public order and security should take the necessary steps to assure the residents of Maghar that such “pogroms” will never be repeated, and to restore the trust and the confidence of the citizens in the public institutions which have the duty to protect their basic rights.
Now I would like to add some more considerations:
1) Revenge is not part of our Christian cultural heritage. Jesus said: If you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? […] If you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Reconciliation is the right path to follow. Pope John Paul II, in his message on the occasion of the World Peace Day, on last January 1, has given us a highly Christian mandate taken from Saint Paul: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
2) I am fully aware of the consternation and the terror filling the hearts of the Christians who were compelled to flee their houses and the village in order to save their lives. Nevertheless, I invite them today to recover courage and come back to their community.
3) I am here also to assure you that, from now on, the Pope as well as myself, the authorities of all the Christian Churches worldwide, and all the world will fix a watchful eye on Maghar, to check that the dignity and the safety of the Christians in the village be respected and protected.
[Text issued by AsiaNews]