Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Roman Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem Calls On Both Sides To Quit If Peace Isn't Achieved

Patriarch Michel Sabbah is Palestinian by birth so he naturally saved his strongest barbs for the Israelis, calling on Christians to "turn checkpoints into places of worship" if Israel does not ease travel restrictions on Palestinians over the Christmas period. He also urged Israel to work towards ending its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Now why would Muslim Palestinians need fewer travel restrictions during a Christian holiday? That sounds like a recipe for trouble.

Patriarch Michel has been a supporter of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and a stern critic of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The one concession he did make in his latest statement was to retract support for the latest Intifada, at least to the media.

"If Palestinians had resisted Israeli tanks with an olive branch, they would have neutralised Sharon's military machine," the cleric told journalists after his public address.

Article Here


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