Holy Land Seeks Donors for Aid Projects

Latin Patriarchate Aims to Help Victims of Strife

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ROME, JULY 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has initiated a project to raise funds for the Palestinian victims of the 10-month-old unrest in the Middle East.



Father Raed Abusahlia has established the Olive Branch Fund to assist in four crisis areas: education; job creation; the elderly, sick and handicapped; and affordable housing.

"Violence, retaliation, fear, death, unemployment, the end of the peace process summarize our situation today," Father Abusahlia said in his newsletter, "The Olive Branch from Jerusalem."

The lack of tourists, the economic sanctions of the Israeli government, and the lack of job opportunities have dealt a triple blow to Palestinians.

In requesting support for his foundation, Father Abusahlia writes, "Many families lost their source of income and are really in need of basic daily bread."

"We pray to the Lord that the mediation and support of our Christian brothers and sisters all over the world will be more efficient in the future," he stated. "Otherwise, the Holy Land, the Christian community and our Catholic institutions will suffer. Thousands of families do not have enough resources to cope with the requirements of human dignity."

"We are trying our best to help through the existing Christian relief agencies," he added, "such as Caritas, Pontifical Mission for Palestine, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision. However, the needs are more than our capacities."

Father Abusahlia appeals specifically for sponsors who can support:

--a student at a Catholic or private school, for about $300 a year.

--animal farms -- with cows for meat and milk, chickens for meat and eggs -- for the unemployed.

--aid programs for the elderly, the sick and the handicapped.

--a housing program for the homeless, whereby a parish might sponsor an apartment. The idea is to build 30 to 50 apartments, which could help keep 30 to 50 young families from having to emigrate.

Donors may send their donations to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Father Abusahlia says that every dime "will be used exactly according to the donor´s intention."

More information is at http://www.lpj.org.