An unexpected invitation to spend a long weekend at a Jerusalem hotel, was taken up by a group of Christian Maronites from southern Lebanon on Saturday (3 September).
An unexpected invitation to spend a long weekend at a Jerusalem hotel, was taken up by a group of Christian Maronites from southern Lebanon on Saturday (3 September). It was made by the management of the Plaza Hotel as a good will gesture and is the latest illustration of Israel's so-called Good Fence Policy with southern Lebanon which was started over a year ago.
SYNOPSIS: Thirty-nine Maronites, both men and women and including officers of troops fighting inside Christian enclaves, took up the hotel's offer. For many it was much appreciated brief respite from the fighting, which still goes on in southern Lebanon between the Maronites and Palestinians. Like many other Christian tourists who come to Jerusalem, visiting the holy shrines was an important highlight for the Maronites. After watching a bell ringing display, they attended a Sunday church service.
Later, the visiting group was given a tour of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. For over a year Christian Lebanese have been enjoying cross-border links which have provided them with jobs in Israel, markets for agricultural goods, and free medical treatment. In July, Lebanese Christian forces were invited by the Israelis to a concert given by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Generally, the Good Fence policy has paid off, with the creation of two solidly defended Christian enclaves, making Israel's northern border generally trouble-free.