What is very clear to me is the ethnic cleansing of Christian Arabs from Israeli-controlled territories. My wife and I witnessed the horrific plight of Christian Palestinians on a recent visit to the Holy Land, which was prompted by a talk given by Cardinal Sean Brady when he spoke at a Kerry diocesan gathering three years ago.
When I attended this year’s Holy Week ceremonies, my mind was frequently drawn to the holy places and the ceremonies in Jerusalem. A constant preoccupation was how sad it was that the majority of Catholics belonging to the rapidly-dwindling Palestinian Christian community of the Holy Land — some of whom I had worshipped alongside at Sunday Mass near Bethlehem less than a week previously — were being prevented by Israeli forces and a monstrous and overbearing wall of separation from being present at the nearby sites of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Thanks to well-reported visits by representatives of the World Council of Churches, the Catholic archbishops of Westminster, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Armagh, and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, we have been made much more aware of the daily ongoing suffering of our co-religionists in beleaguered Palestine, and the ethnic cleansing that is taking place at the hands of the Israeli authorities.