Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Bethlehem, Pope urges lifting of Gaza embargo.


New York Times Posted online: Thursday , May 14, 2009 at 0031 hrs
BETHLEHEM : Pope Benedict XVI came on Wednesday to this town that Christians revere as the birthplace of Jesus, telling Palestinians that after decades of suffering, they had a right to a sovereign homeland “in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbours, within internationally recognised borders”.
He evoked “the loss, the hardship and the suffering” of Palestinians in war-torn Gaza, saying he prayed for the lifting of the economic embargo that Israel has imposed there since the militant group Hamas took control in 2007.
Speaking in the presence of President Mahmoud Abbas before offering a mass in a sunlit Manger Square, he also urged young Palestinians to “have the courage to resist any temptation you may feel to resort to acts of violence or terrorism”.
President Abbas
used the opportunity to assail Israel’s separation barrier with Palestinian areas as “the apartheid wall which forbids our people from the West Bank” from reaching Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

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