Archbishop of Jerusalem, on visit to Dublin, expresses delight at recognition of Palestinian state

Church of Ireland dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough raise €216,000 for rebuilding of Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza

The Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, on a brief visit to Dublin, has expressed his delight at Ireland’s formal recognition of Palestinian statehood, and remarked that “no one will believe that this wasn’t planned” on the coincidence of his being in Dublin at this time. His diocese includes Gaza and the West Bank.

Archbishop Hosam Naoum and some of his clergy arrived in Dublin last Sunday for a joint retreat with clergy of Dublin and Glendalough dioceses, which continues until Thursday. He said the decision to recognise Palestine was “timely”.

“We are really delighted. I think the whole world will come to realise one day that this is the right step and everybody should make this move,” he said.

A Christian Arab Israeli himself, he believes “we are a step closer to the realisation of the Palestinian and, I would add as well, the Israeli dream of becoming two states side by side living in peace and harmony. The Church continues to call for a two-state solution, even though many don’t see that as any more a viable solution.”

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Speaking at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute in Dublin on Tuesday evening, he said it was “the only way we can guarantee security and peace to both peoples”, but added “it has to be a just and lasting peace”.

He would been delighted if “Israel would have made that move before any other country” as then “everybody else would follow”.

On Monday evening, at a special service in St Ann’s Church on Dublin’s Dawson St, Archbishop Naoum warmly thanked the Church of Ireland dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough for the €216,000 raised to date towards rebuilding the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza.

The hospital, run by the Anglican diocese of Jerusalem, was badly damaged on October 17th last in an explosion which killed over 200 people sheltering there and injured many more. The Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas disputed responsibility for the blast.

He recalled how, when the war began last October, people asked “what will happen if the hospital is destroyed?” He replied then that they would “build another hospital and another clinic, because we believe what we do. That’s why we opened another clinic in Rafah a month ago, in order to expand our work.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times