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Patriarch praises Kerry’s efforts for Mideast peace

Catholic World News - February 19, 2014

In a meeting with a US State Department official, Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “spoke of his admiration for the courage of John Kerry and his tenacity in the peace process,” according to a news release published by the patriarchate.

Shaun Casey, the head of the State Department’s Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives, said that “the protection of Christians, the freedom of worship and access to the holy places of the Holy Land are at the heart of the concerns of the Vatican and the United States,” the summary continued.

“Defending the Palestinians [does] not mean being against Israel,” Patriarch Twal added, as he called upon Israelis and Palestinians “to work courageously for a genuine and lasting peace.”

Referring to the Israeli West Bank barrier, Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali, who was present at the meeting, said that “allowing family reunification before the arrival of the Pope [in May] would be a sign of hope for Palestinians and a tribute to the visit of the man of peace.”

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