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.
As he heads to what could be a sea of controversy in Israel-Palestine, Pope Benedict XVI's Middle East trip has been marked by a strong message of reconciliation and affirmation of hard-pressed historic Christian communities in the region.
A petition coordinated by peace organisations, theologians and other concerned individuals is calling on the Pope to visit Gaza and to take a stand for justice and nonviolence in the embattled province.