BY No Author | October 18 2013 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Holy Land division is a ‘human tragedy’

Archbishop Tartaglia shocked at suffering caused by partition of Israel and Palestine during pilgrimage

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow has said he was shocked by ‘the human tragedy’ of the partition of Israel and Palestine during his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“This is late in life for my first visit here, but better late than never,” the archbishop said just 48 hours after arriving in the Holy Land. “We have been distressed by the wall [dividing Israel and the West Bank], truly distressed.

“It is really sad, young soldiers, just girls and boys, at checkpoints with guns.”



Archbishop Tartaglia was speaking in Bethlehem last week, where he and the other 109 pilgrims on the Scottish national Year of Faith Holy Land pilgrimage were being honoured at a civic reception held by Bethlehem Municipality (above right).

Speaking of the experience of the pilgrims he was leading in the Holy Land, the archbishop said: “We have come and seen, and, believe me, we understand.”

The archbishop said he and his fellow pilgrims had been distressed at the division, disparity and violence in the lives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim people in the region, but remained privileged and uplifted to have made the trip, and believed there was still genuine hope for a peaceful solution in the future.

“Even in my lifetime walls that have been built have been taken down,” he said. “Walls don’t last forever. They don’t come down with violence. Discourage your young people from venting their rightful anger in violence. Walls come down because of faith and hope, and of the indomitable spirit of men and women who continue to believe in a just freedom.”


Praying for peace

He added that Christians and Muslims do and must live together in faith and dialogue.

“For us, Jesus Christ is the face of hope,” he said.



The pilgrimage was organised by former Glasgow Lord Provost Alex Mosson, who twinned Bethlehem and Glasgow, and was also instrumental in arranging the civic reception hosted by Bethlehem’s first female mayor, Vera Baboun where pilgrims gained more insight into the trauma of the region.

Ms Baboun lost her own husband when he took ill during an uprising, which closed off the city. As a result, she could not get him to a hospital for treatment.




—This story ran in full, with additional photographs, in the October  18 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.



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