.- The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, said recently that the future of Christians in the Holy Land is unsure, unless Christians in the rest of the world take concrete steps to sustain them.
In a conference organized by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) at the Cathedral of Westminster in London, Archbishop Twal said last Tuesday that emigration has drastically reduced the number of Christians in Israel and Palestine.
The 10,000 currently in the region could drop to 5,000 in 2016, he said, warning that the pilgrimage made by Benedict XVI in May has not yet lead to the “breather” that the minorities need. “Discrimination today in Israel threatens both Christians and Muslims,” he stated.
Referring to the wall in the West Bank that prevents Palestinians from have access to basic needs such as health care and education, the Patriarch said, “We have a generation of Christians who cannot visit the Holy Places of the faith that are just a few kilometers from their places of residence.”
During a Mass he celebrated earlier, Archbishop Twal thanked ACN for its untiring support. “We count on you and your collaboration. Without you what would our future be?” he said.
After warning of the grave crisis that many Palestinians face, he remarked that it seems “politicians are more afraid of peace than of war and prefer to manage the conflict instead of solve it.”
In the occupied territories, the people “are completely at the mercy of the Israeli army, and currently in the Gaza Strip people live under the strong arm of Israel which has created a drastic humanitarian crisis,” the archbishop noted.
During his visit to London, the Latin Patriarch met with bishops of England and Wales as well as with other organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.