Card Ranjith prays for the liberation of Palestine (photos)
by Melani Manel Perera

The archbishop of Colombo was invited by the Palestinian ambassador to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Embassy. For the occasion, an oil lamp was brought from Bethlehem. For the cardinal, peace will never be achieved unless “Palestinians live with dignity in their own state". The three great religions “must learn to unite people, not divide them” whilst “world powers must not intrude”.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, attended a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Palestinian Embassy last Sunday in Wijeyarama Mawatha, Colombo, following an invitation from Palestinian Ambassador Zuhair Dar Zaid.

In his address, the prelate said: “I hope and pray that Palestine will be liberated, [. . .] and that the people of Palestine will no longer need go from place to place to seek refuge with their suitcases” but “will be to able to live in dignity one day in their own state.”

The prelate went to “wish you peace and harmony for that country and for its people who have been oppressed and occupied for several decades.”

Card Ranjith was the Chief Guest at the ceremony, which, in addition to the lighting of the tree, included an oil lamp, brought especially from Bethlehem by Fr Louis Hazboun, the guest of honour and the parish priest at Bir Zeit.

Those present observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks, which cost the lives of 263 people. In solidarity with survivors, the ambassador donated a million rupees (US,500).

Speaking about the Palestinian people, Card Ranjith said that he personally saw them suffer from house demolitions, left with nowhere to go. For many years Israel’s territorial expansionism has been a big mistake and the reason for human suffering.

“If we want to have world peace, we must have no more war. And war can be prevented by accepting the truth and the difference between each other in the life. We must tolerate one another.”

For the prelate, “the Palestine problem must be solved by all peace-loving people in the world. I believe the three great religions of the Middle East – Islam, Judaism and Christianity – must learn to unite people, not divide them.”

"Furthermore, world powers must not intrude; they must allow people to find their own solution. World powers involved in this situation are only trying to protect their own political interests in the region, creating further complications."

For the archbishop, “The Palestine problem will never be solved until the world powers leave those places and allow Muslims, Jews and Christians who live there to settle issues peacefully. Any attempt to create a monolithic world will damage peace and harmony across the world.”