THE position of Christians in Palestine was in the spotlight at the Friends of the Holy Land’s annual gathering last week.
The charity, which supports more than 2000 Palestinian Christians living in the West Bank, invited a lecturer at Bethlehem University, Husam Wahhab, to give the keynote address at St Francis of Assisi’s, a Roman Catholic church in Kenilworth.
Mr Wahhab told the 90 or so people who attended that Palestinian Christians felt isolated, and many continued to flee, leading to fears that the birthplace of the faith could soon become entirely depopulated of believers.
British Christians needed to reach out to their Palestinian brothers and sisters — who watched atrocities visited on Christians in near countries such as Syria and Iraq with horror — and let them know that they were not alone, he said.
“We need to see more than just stones in the Holy Land: we need to see the living stones. Can our children cope with this life? The only thing that is predictable in our future is that it will be unpredictable.”
Among the other difficulties faced were travel restrictions, which meant that even a short drive into Jerusalem required a visa; and an uncertain water supply.
The executive trustee of Friends of the Holy Land, Peter Rand, said that, despite the problems, the charity was continuing to expand its work. Last year, more than £550,000 in grants was distributed to Palestinian Christians: a 22-per-cent increase on the previous 12 months, he said.