Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Will Finland's eurosceptic party enter government?

Read more

FOCUS

The health risk behind Argentina's soya paradise

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Top Burundian judge flees country after government pressure

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'60% of British citizens want voting reform'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Swedish FM: ‘Diplomacy today is about courage and patience’

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Women journalists to male politicians: Hands off!

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's billion-euro private beach industry

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

UN denies claims it tried to cover up sex abuse in Central African Republic

Read more

DEBATE

François of Arabia: Hollande's Budding Friendship with the Gulf (part 2)

Read more

Middle east

Pope laments West Bank barrier, calls for Palestinian homeland

Video by Oliver FARRY

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-05-14

During his visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Pope Benedict XVI called for a sovereign Palestinian homeland and decried the Israeli-built West Bank barrier as a symbol of the “stalemate” in the Mideast peace process.

 

Standing in the shadow of a controversial Israeli-erected wall during his one-day visit to the West Bank Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI called the barrier a symbol of "stalemate" between Israel and the Palestinians and urged both sides to break the "spiral of violence".

 

 

During a visit to a Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem on the third day of his five-day landmark Mideast tour, the pope prayed for “an end to the hostilities that have caused this wall to be built."

 

Addressing a gathering at the Aida refugee camp, which is located at the foot of the West Bank wall, the pope lamented the “tragic” West Bank barrier.

 

"Towering over us, as we gather here this afternoon, is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached — the wall," he said.

 

It was the kind of imagery and language that Palestinians had been hoping for from the pope's visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

 

The pope’s comments on the West Bank barrier came hours after he issued a call for a Palestinian homeland during a visit to Bethlehem, a town where Christians believe Jesus was born.

 

At the residence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier Wednesday, the pope told Palestinians that the Vatican supported a "sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbours, within internationally recognised borders". He also called on Palestinians to resist the "temptation of terrorism".

 

Abbas, standing stood next to the pope on the ceremonial dais in the Aida refugee camp, called on Israel to embrace peace.

 

"In front of your holiness I address a message of peace to our Israeli neighbours," said Abbas. "And I call upon them to renounce occupation, settlements, arrests, and humiliations."

 



Date created : 2009-05-13

COMMENT(S)