Holy Land, Travelogue

Tale of Three People: Christians, Palestinians and Israelis

Fr. Don Lapointe – Diocese of Springfield, MA

We have all heard of the “The Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. I call my reflection the “Tale of Three People.” I am here in Israel on our fourth day with Catholic Relief Services. We were able to celebrate Mass at the Chapel of St. Peter in Galicantu. It is the place which marks the incident where the Apostle Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Oh how good it would be if we could just turn our backs and deny the suffering that we see in this part of the world.

It is indeed the struggle of three people. The number of Christians is at record lows in this country, down to less than two percent of the total population. The Israeli people struggle for security from fear and attacks from all sides. The Palestinians suffer from the effects of the Israeli insecurity. They feel the frustration and oppression and they find themselves in desperation.

When fear dictates actions we, are in a poor position to make sound judgments and we make serious mistakes. We are led to do things we would not ordinarily do. This struggle illustrates a case in point. As a result of the Israelis’ need for security we find that the Christians flee the area as soon as they can. The Palestinians face unbelievable restrictions. We find 561 road obstacles in a country the size of New Jersey. We find people are not able to go out in the streets or even to cross the street for fear of being shot. We find people having to travel for hours through several road blocks just to work their land because they are not able to travel the same road as their fellow countrymen.

We find people being taxed or overcharged for water that comes from a well on their own property when the same water is transported long distances to other settlements for less charge. We find people not allowed to build a home on their own land when settlements are readily built on their land without their permission or consent.

There are so many more violations found in the reports of the United Nations and all in the name of “security.” How much more must we witness and for how long. Pain brings more pain and pain brings desperation. Nation blames nation and the beat goes on.

Thanks be to God and for the meeting at Annapolis. There is now a possible Peace proposal. It is a small chance. It is a difficult but workable proposal. But it is a chance which brings a spark of hope. It is a solution which has the potential to bring about a chance at a just and secure peace with dignity for all involved. Is it not worth our prayers? Is it not worth our support? Is it not worth any effort we can bring? The pain and welfare of so many depend on it. The alternative would only bring more pain, more distrust and more hopelessness.

Fr. Don Lapointe, from the Diocese of Springfield, MA, is a member of the Global Fellows: Parish Homily Program. The Global Fellows: priests, deacons and seminarians, travel to the developing world to experience the plight of the poor and marginalized overseas. Upon their return, the Global Fellows are empowered to preach in parishes across the United States about social justice and peace around the world. This entry is a personal reflection by one of the participants in this program, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Catholic Relief Services, or its partners.

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One Response to “Tale of Three People: Christians, Palestinians and Israelis”

  1. Benjamin J. Coolen Says:

    Hello Fr. Don LaPointe: It’s been a long time since I’ve talked with you and many things have changed.Your article gives us a clearer point not many think about , but should.We in our own way all pray for peace.I have a step -daughter now who is in Syria and has been for about 3-4 years.I can only pray that peace is on the verge of reality.Wouldn’t it be nice?Hope you remember me from the old days.I am in Springfield now and would like to see you again.

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