Gaza, Cremisan and Jordan: Bishop Dubost’s outlook on Holy Land Coordination
Holy Land – The visit of Holy Land Coordination is over. Bishop Michel Dubost, Bishop of Evry Corbeille-Essonnes, member of this Coordination, reviews the visit to the most vulnerable Christian communities in Gaza, Bethlehem and in Jordan.
The first step of your pastoral visit brought you to Gaza. Whom have you met? Did you notice any improvements since your last visit back in January 2015 (right after the offensive ‘Protective Edge’)?
Gaza remains an extremely restricted area of liberty, with a high rate of unemployment and without a genuine perspective of peaceful solution to its many problems. Yet the atmosphere seemed to me lighter than last year! Sure, there is no hope but there is a will to live. The Catholic Community shows this will in devoting efforts towards education, care for people with disabilities. It teaches as well how to behave in the midst of a world of violence!
Let’s talk about Bethlehem and the Valley of Cremisan, where soldiers apparently blocked the way of the delegation. For years families from the Cremisan Valley have been fighting, unsuccessfully, against the confiscation of their lands. What solution do you see? What is role of the international community?
I think there is no solution for Cremisan: by any means the Israelis, who violate international law under the false pretext of security and who seek to hold lands and drive Arabs outside (though Christians), are gaining grounds. The only resource is non-violence, based on prayer. What happened to us shows that some of them want to display their force!
This year, the Bishops chose to go to Jordan and meet with Syrian and Iraqi refugees. What were the conditions that you found there? What expectations? What was the message that you delivered to them?
The Palestinian and Jordanian Church is honored to host so generously our brethren of the Middle East. It is good to say that. We have met many Iraqi refugees; they believe that they are less understood and recognized by major international organizations than the Syrians. It was important to listen to them! It is our duty to retell what we have heard. In this hectic world, the church behaves as one family – and that is good!
Interview conducted by Manuella Affejee
Photo: Visit to Our Lady of Peace Center ©Mazur