On Monday, April 22, Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, went to the Mount of Olives in Bethpage and, together with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and other officials, signed a friendship pact between the Christian people of a housing complex, built for poor Christians by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, and their Muslim neighbours. A first!

One hundred participants gathered at the “The Mount of Olives Club” in the district of Bethpage for the unusual signature ceremony, including Adnan Husseini, Governor of Jerusalem and Friar Ibrahim Faltas, OFM, representing the Custody of the Holy Land.

The signatories represent on one side, 63 families, the Christian residents of the Bethpage housing complex built by the Franciscans and, on the other, the Muslim neighbourhood. The pact has a twofold purpose: to prevent violence between neighbours, such as there was on two occasions in the past eight months, and to achieve good neighbour relations. The signing of the pact was proposed by a Coordinating Committee and, as such, is not just a highly symbolic gesture. The Committee members are responsible for ensuring the implementation of the agreement and intervening in disputes to find the best solution for all.

This great initiative was conceived by some Muslim leaders who intervened in previous clashes in the neighbourhood. Each signatory spoke and advocated the importance of good neighbourly relations, acceptance of others and emphasized the values ​​of friendship.

 Signing the agreement