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Violence in a Christian residential complex in Jerusalem

Bethphage –The Episcopal Commission for Media of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land condemned a violent incident in the Christian housing complex of Bethphage in Jerusalem. 

This occurred on Monday, August 20, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight when a group of fifty boys attacked the residential complex for 79 families which is part of  a project of the Franciscans of the Holy Land. Following a brawl between young people of the Christian area and some neighbors,  friends were called and they all attacked the complex, yelling, throwing stones, smashing cars and windows of houses.    A number of residents were injured and one had to be hospitalized for treatment. “They do so because they know that we will not respond with violence!” protested David Josef, a father of five children, as he emphasized: “This is the third time this happened to us in two years …”

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm and Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, William Shomali accompanied by  Priests and Franciscan Friars visited Bethphage on Wednesday morning to show their solidarity with the residents. They heard the complaints and sentiments expressed by the population and saw first-hand the damage resulting from these unlawful actions.

All agreed in condemning these events and to take necessary measures to prevent recurrence.   The importance of good neighbor relations was emphasized between the residents of the housing complex and their Muslim neighbors.

Laurent Charnin