Bishops from across Europe and North America called on their governments to insist on the application of international law in Israel and Palestine, following their visit to the Holy Land this week.
The bishops of the Holy Land Coordination, including Scotland’s Bishop William Nolan of the Diocese of Galloway, who visit the region every year in support of the local Church to promote dialogue and peace, said they were inspired by the enduring resilience of the people they met in Gaza, East Jerusalem and Ramallah despite the worsening situation.
However, they echoed the local bishops’ lament of the international community’s failure to realise justice and peace in the land of Christ’s birth. While the political solution had ultimately to be shaped by the people of the Holy Land through dialogue, they said there was an urgent need for the governments in their own countries in Europe, Canada and the USA to play an essential part.
The bishops statement said governments could do this by: “Insisting on the application of international law; Following the Holy See’s lead in recognising the State of Palestine; Addressing the security concerns of Israel and the right of all to live in safety; Rejecting political or economic support for settlements And resolutely opposing acts of violence or abuses of human rights by any side.”
They concluded their final communique with prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.