Jerusalem bishop op­ti­mistic on Is­rael-Pales­tine ques­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - HOME NEWS - BY JU­DITH HAY­MAN

THE ANGLI­CAN Bishop of Jerusalem, Bishop Riah Abu El-As­sal, has told a Manch­ester au­di­ence that he dis­agrees with the pes­simism of to­day’s Pales­tini­ans.

He told a ca­pac­ity Pales­tinian Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign meet­ing at Manch­ester’s Friends’ Meet­ing House last week: “We are closer to peace than when I was last in the city in 1994.” He be­lieved the Pales­tini­ans and Is­raelis could form a con­fed­er­a­tion and be the “Switzer­land of the Mid­dle East”.

Bishop Riah, not­ing that rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with the Pales­tini­ans would lead to peace be­tween Is­rael and the rest of the Arab world, pointed out that Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans had much in com­mon. The Oslo Ac­cords were “a right step in the right di­rec­tion”. He was dis­ap­pointed that they had not been fully re­alised. “Pre­serve the Chris­tian pres­ence for the sake of peace, nor­mal re­la­tions and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. It will serve as a bridge.”

The Bishop dis­par­aged Tony Blair’s 2003 road-map pro­pos­als as a “road with­out a map”. He thought a so­lu­tion to the im­passe in the re­gion lay in Is­rael com­ply­ing with UN Res­o­lu­tion 242 and the joint ed­u­ca­tion of Is­raeli, Pales­tinian and Chris­tian chil­dren.

The Bishop also spoke in Liver­pool, Lon­don and York. The Manch­ester au­di­ence in­cluded Manch­ester Coun­cil of Chris­tian and Jews chair­man Rev Mike Wil­liams, for­mer CCJ chair­man Canon Al­bert Rad­cliffe and Zion­ist Cen­tral Coun­cil chair­man Lu­cille Co­hen.

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