By Sr. Carmel Ann
“The young people in Gaza continue to be robbed of their life chances by the enduring blockade, which indiscriminately denies them the opportunity to flourish”. This was the observation of the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination 2018 who were on their annual visit from 13 – 18 January.
Hope for a better future
Despite the continuing destructive conflict and the divisive approach of so many in power, the young are seeking for a better future. Throughout the West Bank, Gaza and Israel the youth are keeping hope alive through their resilience and courage and share the same aspirations for peaceful coexistence. The Bishops have witnessed and heard of their struggle to build this dream.
Insensitivity of those in power
The young people of the Holy Land have been consistently failed by both their own leaders and the international community. It is they who are daring to pursue justice and challenge the divisions that have been forced upon them by those in power.
Witness of local Christian community
The local Christian community, though small in number, is an integral part of this, not only through the contribution of its own youth, but also through its service to all young people. Young volunteers who work with L’Arche in Bethlehem, Beit Emmaus in Qubeibeh, and religious orders in Gaza, are demonstrating humanity in this wounded society.
Solidarity in action
Bishops from Europe, North America and South Africa who form the Holy Land Coordination mandated by the Holy See have called on the communities in their countries to act in solidarity with those in the Holy Land through supporting organisations which help to create jobs, provide housing, and facilitate dialogue; through prayer and making pilgrimages which encounter and support local people; and through standing resolutely against all those who seek to create further division especially among their own political leadership.
Inspired by Pope Francis the Bishops commit themselves, with the help of God’s grace, to play their part in making this land more human and more worthy for the youth of today and the future.