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Anglican leader visits, urges Christians to stay in J'lem, Bethlehem

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  • Josh Pollack
    Ha aretz July 30, 2001 Anglican leader urges Christians to stay despite violence By The Associated Press
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 30, 2001
      July 30, 2001
      Anglican leader urges Christians to stay despite violence
      By The Associated Press


      Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, the spiritual leader of 73 million
      Anglicans worldwide, urged Christians to remain in the Holy Land, despite 10
      months of violence and economic hardships.

      Palestinian Christians, always a minority, have been gradually leaving the
      Holy Land. They are now barely two percent of the roughly 3 million
      Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, according to
      Palestinian experts.

      "To the Christians in this land, we want to urge you, and it's easy for me
      to say this as an outsider: stay put, make your mark but share your message
      with the rest of us around the world," Carey said.

      On a four-day pastoral visit to the region, Carey said he was shocked and
      disturbed by what he had seen.

      "The situation facing the churches is very serious, it's compounded by
      problems such as the economic situation in east Jerusalem, the West Bank,
      Gaza, added to by the inability to move freely," he told reporters.

      "We have to remember that in a polarized situation such as this, you have
      division, but you also have a sharing of pain, tears and suffering," Carey

      Carey met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority
      Chairman Yasser Arafat during his visit. He recommended that both sides
      adopt the findings of a U.S.-led fact-finding commission that set out a
      multi-staged program for stopping the violence and resuming peace talks.

      Carey criticized Israel's stringent security measures, calling them one of
      the main reasons Palestinian Christians were leaving the area. "Simply,
      security at any price will not do," Carey said.

      During his stay, Carey visited the traditionally Christian district of
      Bethlehem, as well as Gaza and Jerusalem. At least 300 people have left
      Bethlehem in recent months, with most heading to the United States and other
      countries in the Americas, Palestinians say. The town where Jesus was born
      is now heavily Muslim.

      "We are frightfully concerned with Christians from the Holy Land leaving in
      despair, and we have to say it is because of frustration, a daily sense of
      humiliation," Carey said.

      "It's in the best interest of Muslims and Jews to have Christians here who
      can make their own contribution because none of us want Jerusalem and
      Bethlehem to become Disneyland sites, we want this to be a place of living
      worship," Carey said.

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