Vatican City: Israel Should End Occupation

Published: October 23rd 2010
in News » World

The Pope

Bishops called on by the Pope from across the Middle East urged Israel on Saturday to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories so that a two-state solution can be established.


The Vatican is nearing the end of a two-week long meeting about the difficulties faced by Christians throughout the Middle East. And though they condemned both terrorism and anti-Semitism, they also blamed the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict for causing tensions resulting in the mass departure of Christians from the region.


The bishops also called on Israel not to use the Bible “to wrongly justify injustices.”


In recent decades, the number of Christians in the Middle East has declined substantially, largely because of war, instability and changing economic conditions, the New York Times reported.


In their statement, the bishops called on countries across the region to help make Christians feel secure, and urged Christians not to sell their property if they did end up leaving.


Several weeks after United States-led peace talks were hindered, the bishops agreed upon a two-state solution that would give special status to Jerusalem as a city holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims.


Although the bishops did refer to the “suffering and insecurity in which Israelis live,” they also said that Palestinians were suffering under an Israeli occupation resulting in a lack of freedom.


The statement also criticized Israel for using the Bible to justify the Jewish presence in the occupied territories, saying that “recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable.”


Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, countered this claim, saying theological disputes over the interpretation of the scriptures vanished with the Middle Ages, according to Reuters. He added: “It doesn’t seem like a wise move to revive them,” referring to what he considers to be antiquated disputes.

Related articles: (bishop, pope, occupation, Middle East, Christian, Bible)
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