[142. Christians in the Jewish State

Under the heading "Waiting to Return", Catholic New Yorkof April 6 reported that the 5,000 descendants of the two Maronite Christian villages of Iqrit and Burum in the Upper Galilee "are scattered throughout Israel" without saying how that happen. I would like to bring the fate of my fellow Maronites to the attention of the Christian community of Metropolitan New York.

On October 31, 1948, the Israeli forces occupied the two villages without fighting. On November 5, the villagers were ordered for "security reasons" to leave their homes "for two weeks." The same pretext Israel is still using today to deceive to whole world. Not surprisingly, Israel didn't keep its word. The villagers petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice which ruled on July 31, 1951 in their favor. The Israeli army, however, blew up all the houses of the villages, on Christmas Day of the same year, to prevent its inhabitants, once and for all, from returning to their homes. Bur`um has been declared a national park and a number of Jewish settlements have gone up on former Maronite agricultural lands. Since then, the villagers have been gathering at every Christmas and Easter to pray in the middle of their ruined villages. This is what it means for Christians to live in a country that calls itself a Jewish state. Let us have a thought for them this coming Easter.

April 9, 1995]