In his message for Easter, the Latin-rite patriarch urges Palestinians and Israelis to draw lessons from the past three years of violence that, according to the Franciscan Custody, has resulted in 3,780 deaths and thousands of destroyed homes.
"As we celebrate the feast of the glorious resurrection of Our Lord, we turn our eyes to the holy places and to the people who live around them," the patriarch begins. "We see with deep sadness a situation of death, not of life, a situation in which one does not know what to do as one searches for life in the darkness of death, oppression and bloodshed."
"We live days in which reason is darkened; we are abandoned to 'human madness' that sees solutions only in bloodshed and in crushing the human being," the patriarch writes.
What is "the way out?" he asks. "The leaders should come back to reason and consider that all human beings are equal, whether Palestinian or Israeli. … [When] violence stops on one side, it should stop on the other as well."