BETHLEHEM, West Bank - Coming to Bethlehem during Christmas is like a family reunion for Afif Hazboun.

Published in International
September 11, 2014

United religions

Shimon Peres has been a witness to inter-religious strife most of his life. The former Israeli President, now 91, shared a Nobel Peace prize with Yasser Arafat and has lived through several Middle East wars. He has experienced the link between religious extremism and terrorism.

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WASHINGTON - The conflict in which Islamic State fighters are driving out Christians and other minorities must not be seen as a war between Islam and Christianity, said the head of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches.

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VATICAN CITY - Former Israeli President Shimon Peres asked Pope Francis to head a parallel United Nations called the "United Religions" to counter religious extremism in the world today.

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JERUSALEM - Catholic aid organizations are hopeful that the most recent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will hold as they begin to assess the needs in Gaza after 50 days of war.

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AMMAN, Jordan - Humanitarians and the people of the Gaza Strip are apprehensive about whether there will be a renewal of the truce between Israel and the militant Hamas, said a U.S. Catholic aid official.

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AMMAN, Jordan - A top Catholic charity official described Gaza as a "complete catastrophe" after nearly four weeks of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant Hamas.

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WASHINGTON - The head of a Michigan-based tour company that leads trips to the Holy Land said the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas so far has not had an impact on pilgrimages he and his associates lead.

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JERUSALEM - Two priests on either side of the Gaza border are trying to help their small communities confront the realities of war.

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JERUSALEM - With most international airlines cancelling their flights into Israel's Ben Gurion airport after several Hamas missiles were launched toward the area July 22, Anton Mousallam has only three words on his mind: cancellation, cancellation, cancellation.

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JERUSALEM - The head of Caritas in Jerusalem said he would launch an international appeal to help with the Gaza Strip and would not wait until the end of Israeli-Hamas hostilities, as he had done in the past.

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While the violence escalates in Israel and Gaza, a movement is taking hold that unites Jews, Muslims and others in a campaign for peace.

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JERUSALEM - Members of the tiny Christian community in the Gaza Strip have been keeping tabs on each other and lending a helping hand to keep each other safe during Israeli airstrikes throughout the region, but nowhere in the territory is really safe, said a priest at the territory's only Catholic parish.

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VATICAN CITY - Praying for peace is never a useless exercise — it keeps evil at bay and helps people not give in to violence, Pope Francis said.

Published in Vatican

JERUSALEM - Catholic leaders in the Holy Land called for an end to the cycle of violence and criticized Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and its collective punishment of Palestinians.

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