PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY’S UN BID HEIGHTENING TENSION

Bishop Urges Prayer for Peace in the Holy Land

ROME, SEPT. 18, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The auxiliary bishop of Jerusalem is calling the faithful to pray for peace, as tensions and conflict have increased in the Holy Land since the Palestinian Authority announced its plan to request full U.N. membership.

Bishop William Shomali said that God is needed to bring peace to the Holy Land since politicians are not enough, reported Aid to the Church in Need.

The bishop’s appeal was relayed to staff of the charity in the Holy Land on a fact-finding trip.

“The Lord told us to pray for peace,” the 61-year-old bishop said. “Jerusalem will attain peace through the power of God, and not merely through the acts of politicians.”

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, announced last Friday that he would seek membership for a state of Palestine from the U.N. Security Council when he addresses the body this Friday, Sept. 23.

Violence in Gaza had already intensified as Israel began aerial attacks last month in response to the Popular Resistance Committee attack of a bus carrying Israeli soldiers, killing 14 people.

Bishop Shomali, who comes from Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, described the importance of Christian faithful remaining in the region: “The mission and calling of Christians is to remain in the Holy Land and work toward change. We want change, but we want peaceful change.”

He also reiterated a call for pilgrimages to the Holy Land

“The Holy Land needs you, and you need the Holy Land,” he said. Aid to the Church in Need will be leading a pilgrimage for benefactors next year. “The Holy Land needs peace,” the bishop said, “the Holy Land needs you.”

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