Dr. Ramzi Khoury, General Manager of the Palestinian National Fund and President of the Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine, met today with several officials and heads of institutions in the Bethlehem Governorate within his visit to the region.
Dr. khoury’s first meeting was with the Governor of Bethlehem, General Kamel Hameed, at the Governorate Building, where they discussed many issues related to providing more effective services to the civil society in order to maintain the Christian presence in the governorate, which is of great importance to Bethlehem being the birth place of Jesus Christ and moreover the committee expressed its desire to support the tourism in the city.
In his meeting,Dr. Khoury also indicated the Committee’s desire to hold a regional conference to emphasize the importance of the Christian presence in Palestine and the Christian Arab identity as well as confronting the Israeli occupation that aims to displace Christians from the Holy Land especially from Jerusalem, and resisting the false accusations of the so-called “Zionist christians” , which undermine the Christian presence in Palestine to achieve political goals that serve the Israeli occupation.
He also met with the Mayor of Bethlehem, Mr. Anton Salman, and expressed the Committee’s readiness to cooperate with the Municipality of Bethlehem to ensure the success of the Conference honoring the Palestinian expatriates, sponsored by His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, where the Bethlehem Governorate will be welcoming Palestinians from more than twenty countries.
The conference aims at discussing the situation of the Palestinian expatriates and creating means for their return to their homeland by encouraging them to invest in Palestine.
Later Dr. Khoury met with the Mayor of Beit Sahur, Mr. Jihad Kheir, who explained to the President of the Committee, the projects currently being undertaken by the municipality and discussed several issues concerning possibilities for future projects serving the town’s inhabitants.
Thereupon, His Excellency the Minister met with the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, Bishop Theophylactos. Dr. Khoury indicated the determination of the State Of Palestine and the Higher Presidential Committee to apply and protect the Status Quo.
Dr. Khoury also met with the head of Saint Charbel Church in Bethlehem, Rev. Yaacoub Eid, where he admired the restoration works of the Maronite Church and discussed the possibility of future expansion of the Church.
At the end of His Excellency’s visit, Dr. Khoury met with the Board members of the Orthodox community in Beit Sahur, where he expressed the committee’s primary mission to stop immigration by supporting individuals, providing housing and offering job opportunities.
The institutions of the Bethlehem Governorate and heads of Churches welcomed and thanked the committee for their ongoing support in preserving the Christian presence in Palestine and for the committee’s efforts in protecting both Islamic and Christian holy places by opposing the violations of the Israeli occupation that pursue the Christians in order to control their properties.
All the institutions of the governorate have also shown their readiness to cooperate and unite behind the policy of His Excellency Mr. President Mahmoud Abbas which seeks to highlight the truth, expose the Israeli ambitions to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and turn the political conflict into a religious conflict in front of the world.
On his visit, the President of the Committee was accompanied by the General Manager of the Committee, Ambassador Amira Hanania and the head of the Bethlehem office Mr. Basem Badra.