Several days ago, an article from the Associated Press appeared, with the provocative headline, “Vatican Meeting of Mideast Bishops Demands Israel End Occupation of Palestinian Lands.” Concerned that headline might be a little-one-sided, I read on, only to find this:
In a final joint communiqué, the bishops also told Israel it shouldn’t use the Bible to justify ‘injustices’ against the Palestinians. . . . While the bishops condemned terrorism and anti-Semitism, they laid much of the blame for the conflict squarely on Israel. They listed the ‘occupation’ of Palestinian lands, Israel’s separation barrier with the West Bank, its military checkpoints, political prisoners, demolition of homes and disturbance of Palestinians’ socio-economic lives as factors that have made life increasingly difficult for Palestinians.
Still alarmed, and unsatisfied, I read the Synod’s full statement but, alas, the AP story accurately summarized it. Although there are many fine Christian affirmations in it, the statement is damaged by an undue animus against Israel. No other country comes in for the kind of blame dished out against its policies. The bishops raise concerns about Iraq and Lebanon, but only in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, for which, they suggest, Israel bears almost sole responsibility.
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