World ‘must not for­get Mid­dle East’

Townsville Bulletin - - Holiday Fun -

THE leader of the world’s Angli­cans yes­ter­day urged the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity not to ig­nore the prob­lems in the Mid­dle East amid con­tin­ued stale­mate in the peace process and in­tra-Pales­tinian vi­o­lence.

In his Christ­mas Day ser­mon, Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury Rowan Wil­liams spoke of his re­cent visit to the re­gion with other se­nior Bri­tish Chris­tian lead­ers and likened the trou­bles there to those fac­ing all hu­mankind.

He said it was ‘chill­ing’ that nei­ther Pales­tini­ans nor Is­raelis were hope­ful of an im­mi­nent po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment, de­spite a meet­ing this week of Pales­tinian leader Mah­mud Ab­bas and Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Olmert.

But he said the world should put pol­i­tics to one side in de­ter­min­ing who de­served sup­port, say­ing both sides were im­pov­er­ished in dif­fer­ent ways.

Arch­bishop Wil­liams’s ser­mon comes af­ter a visit to the West Bank town of Beth­le­hem to see at first­hand the lives of or­di­nary Pales­tini­ans.

Dur­ing the trip, he de­scribed the Is­raelibuilt se­cu­rity bar­rier that sur­rounds the town as sym­bol­is­ing what was ‘deeply wrong in the hu­man heart’.

On Satur­day, he launched a strongly worded at­tack in The Timesnews­pa­per against Bri­tain and its al­lies’ ‘short-sighted’ and ‘ig­no­rant’ pol­icy in Iraq, which he said was putting Chris­tians in the Mid­dle East at risk.

He warned that Chris­tians could be chased out of the re­gion be­cause they were now be­ing viewed by their coun­try­men as ‘sup­port­ers of the cru­sad­ing West’.

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