What a shock that the current Catholic Pope supports Muslims and not Israel. For those who don’t recall, the Catholic “Church” and Pope also supported Hitler and Nazi Germany while millions of Jews were driven from their homes to suffer and die.
Speaking in Bethlehem, where he delivered his most sensitive speech yet of an eight-day tour of the Holy Land, Benedict XVI acknowledged the suffering of the Palestinian people following the establishment of Israel in 1948.
But he also urged moderation, telling Palestinians they should not use violence to further their cause.
Speaking later at the Aida refugee camp, he criticised the concrete security wall “towering over us”, saying it was “tragic” to see barriers erected between the two communities.
The Pope, who also celebrated mass in Manger Square in front of the ancient Church of the Nativity, believed to mark the birthplace of Jesus, sent a message of solidarity with moderate Palestinians such as Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader and president of the Palestinian national authority, when he gave his support to proposals for a “two-state solution”.
“The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbours, within internationally recognised borders,” the Pope said.
“I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades,” the Pope said.
“It is my earnest hope that the serious concerns involving security in Israel and the Palestinian territories will soon be allayed sufficiently to allow greater freedom of movement, especially with regard to contact between family members and access to the holy places.”
In remarks aimed at the many militant groups within the Palestinian community, the Pope said they should “resist temptations to resort to acts of violence”.
Israel was nominally behind the two-state plan until the recent election of a Right-wing government led by Benjamin Netanyahu which has said it is reviewing its position on the issue. The Pope is due to meet the Israeli prime minister on Thursday.
After two days in Israel the Pope had to cross into the occupied West Bank where Bethlehem is located.
This meant he had to pass through the 10-yard-high concrete wall built by Israel around Bethlehem.
Deemed illegal under international law, Israel has nevertheless pressed on with its construction on the grounds that it deters suicide bombings and other security threats.
In the afternoon he spoke at the Aida refugee camp, one of several housing Palestinian families driven from their homes through the creation of Israel in the second half of the 20th century.
Israel had forced the organisers of the event at Aida to move the stage so it would not be dominated by the security wall but this did not stop the pontiff criticising the barrier.
“Towering over us … is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached – the wall,” the Pope said.
“In a world where more and more borders are being opened up – to trade, to travel, to movement of peoples, to cultural exchanges – it is tragic to see walls still being erected.”
Speaking after his visit, he issued a message of hope. “I have seen, adjoining the camp and overshadowing much of Bethlehem, the wall that intrudes into your territories, separating neighbours and dividing families,” he said.
“Although walls can easily be built, we all know that they do not last for ever. They can be taken down.”