May 21, 2021


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by Ivan Tasev

“The friars have been in the Holy Land for 800 years in the name of the Church, they have gone through many wars, so even now there has been no panic and no fear. For now, the well-known places of pilgrimage have not been endangered “, says Fr. Siniša Srebrenović

The convent of nuns of the Congregation for the Episcopal Law and their school complex in Gaza suffered damage from numerous bombings of the Gaza Strip in the conflict that escalated between Israel and Hamas in early May, but the sisters refused to leave the premises to protect the school. and the traumatized accept each day that awaits them. A number of apartments belonging to Christian communities in Gaza have also been damaged, with pastor Gabriel Romanelli and priest Yousef Saad making a heroic effort over the past two weeks to keep in constant contact with their 130 parishioners. They visit the elderly and the sick, serve Mass and thus comfort people and perform pastoral duties by putting their own lives in danger.

The conflict culminated among the people

In addition to the Gaza Strip, which includes missionary nuns and those who follow the charism of Charles de Faucauld, the report focuses on the space and situation in Israel, and concludes that El-Yousef said: , education, health, job creation and infrastructure, Gaza and the Holy Land would now be a much better place. Unfortunately, dark times await us! The latest events are very serious and if they do not stop immediately, they will take the boiling region into the abyss. Carry us in your prayers because only a miracle can save the Holy Land from the next catastrophe looming. We can only hope and pray that a calm will soon return that will end the suffering, the unnecessary loss of life and the destruction of property. ”

In numerous news items about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the status of Christians seems to be left aside. They are a minority in Israel, there are only about 1 percent. Tensions began in Jerusalem, today a divided city. The Croatian Franciscan Siniša Srebrenović, who works as a board member in the Franciscan Custody and has been in the Holy Land for 16 years, currently in Jerusalem, introduced us to the situation in the Holy City for the three monotheistic religions.

“The problem is the escalation of the conflict at the base itself, among ordinary people. Although it is difficult to justify either side, nor as a priest do I want to interfere in these political issues, it is obvious that neither side wishes well to the people themselves, no one looks at the common man. What has been happening so far in the realm of politics or the military top – conflicts, divisions and intolerance – has culminated among the people these days. Encouraging radicalism and extremism between Jews and Palestinians will only lead to new conflicts. The fact that hatred has spread among people who should live in coexistence worries all of us the most, “said Father Srebrenović in the introduction.

Advocate for those who want peace

“Christians above all need to respect the dignity of Israelis and Palestinians as people created in the image of God and show compassion for the innocent civilians of both sides who are in the midst of violence. Christians should be especially concerned about their fellow believers because they make up only one percent of the Holy Land’s population and do what they can to help them, “said Robert Nicholson, president of The Philos Project in New York. works with Christians and acquaints them with the situation in the Middle East.

We asked him to comment on how a Catholic believer in this crisis situation, but also otherwise, should be determined by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Christians should also recognize what the Second Vatican Council document‘ Nostra aetate ’calls the‘ common spiritual heritage of Christians and Jews ’and stand by the Jewish majority in Israel as they face violent attacks by the Islamic Resistance or what most people know as Hamas. Many American Christians often speak of a special covenant between Christians and Jews that should continue. But Europeans have an advantage when they have to confront the angry atheistic and Islamic rhetoric coming from Central and Western Europe because they, as Europeans, can offer a better narrative. Fortunately, in places like Croatia, Poland and Hungary there are millions of Christians who see what is happening in the Holy Land and want to be with Jews and Arabs who long for peace. The best thing we as Christians can do is stand up for those who want peace and express our displeasure with those who call for violence, “Nicholson told Glas Koncil.

There are no fears among the friars

He pointed out that riots in recent days between Jews and Arabs and clashes with the police were recorded in Haifa, Acre, Lod, Jaffa. cars. The situation is calmer in Jerusalem, however, although a wave of extremism started from there on the eve of Eid because what began as a legal battle to evict individual families in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem opened decades-old wounds between Israelis and Arabs. And in Jerusalem, sirens sounded after many years, and the city is still deserted today. “No one attached importance or hoped that anyone would shoot at Jerusalem, but that was the case last Monday, May 10th. The friars have been in the Holy Land for 800 years in the name of the Church, they have gone through many wars, so that even now there was no panic and no fear. We have already learned the reality of Jerusalem, and that is that on one side of the street one can witness riots, and on the other celebration, “said Father Srebrenović for Glas Koncila and pointed out that the famous pilgrimage sites related to the life of Jesus were not endangered. cared for by the Custody.

And how do Christians cope with the whole situation, we asked a Croatian Franciscan in the Holy Land. “The position of Christians can be said to be even worse, they are a third party in the conflict, they are somehow squeezed between the two sides. Yet Christians sought to be above it and tried to connect the two sides in everyday, ordinary coexistence. But it is precisely the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent years that has been the reason for the emigration of Christians. Although we can say that people are used to these tensions in some way, there is fear among people, no one cares, they are tired of this political play with ordinary people and not finding a solution, “said Father Srebrenovic, adding that the Church has always emphasized the special status of Jerusalem and that not only one nation can have the right to live in that area.

Postponement of the pilgrimage again

Christians, especially in the Palestinian parts, lived off pilgrims, tourists, and anything related to the provision of accommodation, food, transportation, and the situation with the pandemic had already brought them into great financial trouble. “Christians had hoped and mentioned the return of the pilgrims since the beginning of June, but this situation is now postponing those visits for a few months and this is causing them depression. Here, with the escalation of violence, it is as if the virus has suddenly disappeared, no one is talking about distance anymore, but people mention that it got worse, specifically they say: ‘The virus has disappeared, and his mother has come.’ ”


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