VATICAN – Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 notice that he will be moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Holy See has expressed its concern for recent violent outbreaks and urged leaders to promote peace and security. 
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JERUSALEM – With tensions still high in the Old City following weeks of violence, Fr. Firas Aridah completed his work at the Latin Patriarchate early so he could leave Jerusalem for his West Bank parish before any possible violence began.
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JERICHO, West Bank – Ahmed Za'atreh's love affair with photography began last year, when a relative came back from a trip abroad and gave him a camera. The 15-year-old focused his lens on the brown-hued desert mountains and valleys surrounding Jericho and began taking pictures.

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JERUSALEM – Catholic leaders in the Holy Land expressed solidarity with those affected by regional wildfires, which continued to burn after five days.

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BEIT JALLA, West Bank - A U.S. bishop visiting the Holy Land for the second year in a row said Palestinians whose land has been divided by the Israeli separation barrier "have lost hope."

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BETHLEHEM, West Bank - Though the Christmas tree was lit in Nativity Square in the traditional ceremony, and some traditional pre-Christmas parades have taken place, the Christmas spirit this year in Bethlehem has been dampened by the political situation which, since October, has taken the lives of almost 100 Palestinians and 22 Israelis.

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December 17, 2015

Christmas wishes

For centuries pilgrims have arrived in Bethlehem at Christmas to celebrate where Christ was born at the site of the present-day Church of the Nativity. But this will be a December of modest crowds and muted celebrations due to an autumn of violence in the West Bank.

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BETHLEHEM, West Bank - The Palestinian Authority has asked municipalities to tone down their public Christmas celebrations this year amid escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

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JERUSALEM - Following a week that included Palestinians stabbing Israelis, bloody clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces, and despair rising on both sides, the parishioners of St. Saviour Church in the Old City of Jerusalem came to Mass Oct. 19 to pray, mainly for peace.

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VATICAN CITY - There is a need for great courage and strength in order to reject hatred and to carry out acts of peace in the Holy Land, Pope Francis said.

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JERUSALEM - In a bid to defuse the wave of Palestinian violence that has struck Israel and the West Bank during the past few weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prohibited all of the country’s parliamentarians from visiting the Temple Mount, a contentious site holy to both Jews and Arabs.

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JERUSALEM - Unrest flared in early October throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, which has experienced tensions during September, largely over the status of the contested holy site of the Temple Mount or Haram al-Sharif.

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BEIT JALLA, West Bank - Since hundreds of olive trees were uprooted to make room for a separation barrier through the Cremisan Valley adjacent to this largely Christian village, Fr. Aktham Hijazin, Annunciation parish priest, has been celebrating Mass daily behind red-and-white police tape.

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JERUSALEM - Christians in the Middle East are facing difficulties ranging from "bad" to "less bad," said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem.

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May 21, 2015

Path to justice

A year ago Pope Francis dramatically indicated where the Vatican stands on Palestine when he stopped his motorcade and bowed his head in silent prayer at the security wall that divides the West Bank from Israel and the rest of the world. The image of a solemn Pope praying for peace made front pages around the world.

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