Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received on Tuesday, September 15, at his residence in Ramallah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal and the delegation of the Presidents of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), currently on a visit to the Holy Land to convene their annual summit.

President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe Cardinal Péter Erdő said: “I would like to thank you for the warm welcome. On these days, representatives of Catholic bishops in 45 countries meet in the Holy Land where this is our first session. We discussed the joy and suffering of the Catholic Church in several European countries.”

He added:”We also talked about the faith which gives us hope and directs us into the right path of life. The central point of our faith is Jesus Christ that is why we have visited the Holy land which is associated with His life. We also met some Christian groups and people of this land. We expressed our solidarity with them and our desire to have justice and peace attained.”

For his part, the Palestinian president briefed the visiting delegation on the latest developments in the Palestinian territories and the impasse in the peace process. He also referred to the gravity of Israeli attacks on the holy places in Jerusalem, particularly the Aqsa Mosque, as well as the torching of churches, the latest of which was the torching of the Sanctuary of the Miracle of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish, in Tabgha, in June.

He asserted that these provocations will intensify the situation in the region and give the conflict the impression that it has a religious dimension. He stressed that the Palestinian leadership will not allow the partitioning of the Aqsa Mosque. He added that he was impressed by his latest visit to the Vatican, the meeting with Pope Francis, the hoisting of the Palestine flag at the Holy See, as well as attending the Mass marking the canonization of Sister Maria Alfonsine Danil Ghattas and Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified.