Panaji, June 11 - The Roman Catholic Church in Goa has expressed solidarity with Palestinians in general and Palestinian Christians in particular, in the face of what the Church has described as "Israel's punitive and discriminating actions that have resulted in massive deprivation of human rights and in failing humanitarian standards".
The open letter addressed Monday by the Council of Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a social arm of the influential Catholic Church in Goa, to the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre and Kairos, Palestine, also laments the shrinking number of Christians living in the Holy Land.
"We are appalled when we hear of Israel's punitive and discriminating actions that have resulted in massive deprivation of human rights and in failing humanitarian standards," Father Maverick Fernandes, executive secretary of the CSJP, said.
"In the last few years, the issues of Palestinians have come to capture our spirit and caused to find ways of understanding and relating to your struggle for freedom and justice in Palestine," he added.
The open letter, which was released to the media, expresses "solidarity from Goa to our sisters and brothers who suffer under Israeli occupation and still struggle in dignity for their liberation".
"Our concern is for the extreme reduction in the number of Christians in the Holy Land. The Holy Land is, after all, the cradle of our faith - as well as that of our sisters and brothers who are Jews and Muslims," the letter states.
It beseeches the Christian population there to "remain strong and empowered enough to withstand the compulsions which the occupation enforces on them and reverse the patterns of emigration".