Pope adds voice to Israel-Palestine conflict concern
Speaking to his regular audience in St Peterís Square, Rome, Pope Benedict XVI has added his voice to growing expressions of concern over the situation in Israel-Palestine ñ not least in view of recent developments in Gaza, where the standoff between militants and the occupying Israeli military continues.
ìFaced, on the one hand, with blind violence that provokes appalling massacres and, on the other, with the threat of a worsening of the crisis which over the last few days has become even more dramatic, what is needed is justice and a serious and credible commitment to peace, which unfortunately are nowhere to be seenî, declared the pontiff.
He continued: ìFor this reason, I invite everyone to join in faithful and persistent prayer: may the Lord illuminate hearts and may no one evade their duty to construct peaceful coexistence, recognizing that all [persons] are brothers [and sisters], whatever the people to which they belong.î
Even more sharply, Christian leaders like the Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour, have said that Palestinians and Israelis need to ìlook upon each otherís sufferingsî ñ to see each other as wounded people, not just enemies, in order for a fresh personal and political dynamic to be possible.
Referring to the Moscow summit meeting of world religious leaders, which ends tomorrow, Pope Benedict declared: ìThis important meeting of so many religious leaders of the world, is a sign of a shared desire to promote dialogue between civilisations and a search for a more just and peaceful world order.î
He continued: ìI hope that, with sincere commitment on everyone's part, areas for effective collaboration may be identified, while maintaining respect and mutual understanding, in order to face up to today's challenges.î
ìFor Christians, this means learning to know one another even more profoundly and to esteem one another, in the light of [humanityís] dignity and eternal destiny,î concluded the leader of the worldís 1.3 billion Roman Catholics.
[Also on Ekklesia: Pope becomes first citizen of Bethlehem; Bethlehem Christians disown US Congress Palestine resolution; Israelis demolish Palestinian buildings, say Christian peacemakers; Bethlehem visitor drive thwarted by road blocks; Israeli peace activist jailed for meeting Palestinian militants; Pope Benedict invited to Rome synagogue; Pope urges cuts in spending on arms to feed poor; Pope puts his faith in world youth rally; Pope calls for peace among the faiths in Jerusalem]