Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out in favour of Palestinian sovereignty in an address in Bethlehem during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He also called for reconstruction and reconciliation in the midst of years of strife and conflict.
Resisting pressure from both Israeli hard-liners and those antagonistic to the Israeli state, the visiting Pope Benedict XVI has come out in support of a genuine Palestinian homeland and has equally condemned anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
Although the Vatican is emphasising that Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Holy Land in May 2009 is a pilgrimage, Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan said the political aspect of the visit can not be ignored, and can help promote justice and peace.
Investigators from the United Nations have begun a week-long meeting in Geneva today (4 May 2009), in preparation for a fact-finding mission to investigate recent events and military incursions in the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Like many Palestinians living in occupied territory, the Nassars have endured harassment, threats and attacks from nearby settlers, says Emma Halgren. But their response, and that of others, has challenged the cycle of hatred and violence.