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Patriarch of Jerusalem sees hope despite breakdown of peace talks

Catholic World News - December 21, 2010

The Latin-rite Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem has urged his people to continue working and praying for peace, despite a stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Archbishop Fouad Twal, in his Christmas message, said that the lack of progress in diplomatic talks “should not lead us to despair.”

The archbishop prodded European leaders to take an active role in promoting peace negotiations, saying that the process to date has been “a monopoly of the United States.”

But apart from diplomatic actions, Archbishop Twal saw some concrete practical steps that might help break the stalemate. He pointed, for example, to the volunteer effort by Palestinian firefighters, who joined in battling a forest fire in northern Israel. That sort of practical gesture of friendship, he said, could be “the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.”

The archbishop also drew confidence from the 3.4 million people—many of them Christian pilgrims-- who visited the Holy Land this year, and from the expressions of support from the Synod of Bishops. “We are not alone, we are not abandoned, we are not forgotten,” he assured Palestinian Christians.

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