Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah painted a bleak picture on Tuesday of Middle East peacemaking and called on Christians, Jews and Muslims to pray this holiday season for reconciliation.

The Roman Catholic leader, who is a Palestinian, blamed Israel for the elusive peace and said only the establishment of a Palestinian state would resolve the situation in the Holy Land."The picture is dark," Sabbah said in a pre-Easter message.

Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations celebrate Easter next Sunday.

It coincides this year with Passover, the Jewish holiday marking the biblical exodus from Egypt, and the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

The Roman Catholic leader said of Israel: "If they wanted peace, as they are strong enough to make peace they could have peace. If peace isn't realized it means the intentions are not right.

"If Israel agrees to a Palestinian state this will be the solution," he told a news conference in response to questions.

Sabbah will say Easter Mass on Sunday at Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He said his message would be to remember the suffering of the Palestinians and not to lose hope in God.