Statement from Bishop Declan Lang on recent violence in the Holy Land

As Chair of International Affairs at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and also of the Holy Land Coordination, I have been following with mounting concern the violence that has taken hold again in many parts of Israel and Palestine.

As I pray for the dead and injured from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides, I also call upon both communities and their leaderships to exercise restraint and refrain from going down the slippery road of tit-for-tat killings and mutual recrimination.

During my own visits to the Holy Land, I have witnessed the deep frustration felt by Palestinians at their situation where death is sometimes considered their only painful hope. However, I also appreciate that such despair cannot lead to unbridled violence from either side and that the Israeli authorities need to apply the rule of law.

Today, I recall both the words and spirit of the Encyclical Populorum Progressio by Blessed Pope Paul VI where he reminded us all that peace is the fruit of justice. Therefore, a culture of peace requires a culture of justice too. Otherwise, human relationships will unravel and violence will not always be kept at bay.

I urge Israelis and Palestinians once more to rededicate themselves to undertaking the difficult but inevitable steps that would lead to a genuine peace based on true justice where both sides can live securely and peacefully in their own sovereign states.

Rt Rev Declan Lang
Bishop of Clifton