Jerusalem Catholics face precarious future

 To the Christian and Moslem Arabs of this land, Jerusalem is called 'Al Quds', which translates as 'the Sacred', "the Holy'. And Al Quds is that to Moslems who have as their third most important religious site, the Haram, here. Al Quds is also holy to the Christians who know this city as the place where Jesus died and rose from the dead. Here is the Basilica of he Holy Sepulchre, as well as many other Christian sites in and around Jerusalem. 'Al Quds' is also the name of the daily Arabic newspaper of this city. This week it featured a political cartoon of Sharon, prime minister of Israel, holding a daisy in his hands and plucking off the petals while saying: "Shall I bomb, shall I not bomb, shall I bomb.... That certainly epitomizes the situation for the people of the Bethlehem area. They never know from one night to the next if they will be bombed or if they will not be bombed. It depends on the whim of others. I was in Beit Sahour and Bethlehem this past week and the Matarweh family of Beit Sahour, had recently repaired their house, which for some reason, had previously been a target for the Israeli Army. Then last week it happened all over again. This time half of their home was blown out and the roof had collapsed all the way down through the house to the ground. Needless to say, their home is no longer a place where they can live. That day I saw Mr. Matarweh up at the parish, building a playground for the children. Obviously this man's sights are still set on the future, and he, his wife and three children, members of the Catholic parish there, are renting rooms which hopefully will be safer from the whims of those who pick the petals off the daisies, "Shall I bomb, shall I not bomb...." Such is the nightly experience of your traumatized Christian brothers and sisters who have the courage to remain in the Holy Land.

Share this story