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Pope calls for Palestinian homeland, laments 'tragic' wall

Pope Benedict XVI Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism.  on Wednesday called for a Palestinian homeland This article or section has multiple issues:
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, urged youths to shun Shun

In Chinese mythology, one of the three legendary emperors, along with Yao and Da Yu, of the golden age of antiquity (c. 23rd century BC), singled out by Confucius as models of integrity and virtue.
 "terrorism" and lamented Israel's wall that towered over his first trip to the West Bank.

The pontiff also told thousands of faithful at an open-air mass in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, the cradle of Christianity, that he prayed for a lifting of the embargo Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip Gaza Strip (gäz`ə), (2003 est. pop. 1,330,000) rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi (370 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine. .

"The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers forefathers nplantepasados mpl

forefathers nplancêtres mpl

forefathers nplVorfahren
, secure and at peace with its neighbours, within internationally recognised borders," he said.

He appealed to young people living in the Palestinian territories This article is about the Palestinian territories as a geopolitical phenomenon. For more on their geography, demographics and general history, see West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian territories
 not to "allow the loss of life and the destruction that you have witnessed to arouse bitterness or resentment in your hearts.

"Have the courage to resist any temptation you may feel to resort to acts of violence or terrorism. Instead, let what you have experienced renew your determination to build peace," he said.

The pope reached out to residents of the Aida refugee camp who live in the shadow of the eight-metre-(25-foot-)high wall that surrounds part of Bethlehem, forming part of the controversial West Bank barrier Israel says is essential to its security but which Palestinians see as a symbol of an "apartheid" regime.

"Towering over us... is a stark reminder of the stalemate that relations between Israelis and Palestinians seem to have reached -- the wall," Benedict said, speaking from the courtyard of a school just a stone's throw stone's throw
A short distance.

stone's throw

a short distance

Noun 1.
 from the steel and concrete barrier.

"In a world where more and more borders are being opened up -- to trade, to travel, to movement of peoples, to cultural exchanges -- it is tragic to see walls still being erected."

The pontiff told the refugees his heart went out to those whose families are divided by detention and restrictions on freedom of movement, a clear reference to Israeli military control of the West Bank.

"It is understandable that you often feel frustrated. Your legitimate aspirations for permanent homes, for an independent Palestinian state The Palestinian state (Arabic (دولة فلسطين) is a proposed country. The proposed location includes the Gaza Strip and the autonomously controlled areas of the West Bank, currently controlled by the Palestinian National , remain unfulfilled."

Wrapping up his visit to Bethlehem, he told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas he was deeply moved by the testimonies he had heard.

"With anguish, I have witnessed the situation of refugees who, like the Holy Family, have had to flee their homes.

"And I have seen, adjoining the camp and overshadowing much of Bethlehem, the wall that intrudes into your territories, separating neighbours and dividing families.

"Although walls can easily be built, we all know that they do not last for ever," he said. "They can be taken down."

Thousands of pilgrims, some holding pictures of detained de·tain  
tr.v. de·tained, de·tain·ing, de·tains
1. To keep from proceeding; delay or retard.

2. To keep in custody or temporary confinement:
 relatives, earlier attended the open-air mass in Manger Square just outside the Basilica basilica (bəsĭl`ĭkə), large building erected by the Romans for transacting business and disposing of legal matters. Rectangular in form with a roofed hall, the building usually contained an interior colonnade, with an apse at one end  of the Nativity Nativity
See also Christmas.

Neglectfulness (See CARELESSNESS.)

Nervousness (See INSECURITY.)


birthplace of Jesus. [N.T.
, which Christians believe stands over the spot where Jesus was born.

The 82-year-old pontiff said he was praying for an imminent lifting of the crippling blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza in June 2007 when the Islamist group Hamas, pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state, seized power.

"Please be assured of my solidarity with you in the immense work of rebuilding which now lies ahead, and my prayers that the embargo will soon be lifted," the pope said at the open air mass under sunny skies.

He offered "deep compassion" for the victims of the 22-day war that Israel unleashed in response to rocket fire from Gaza in December, which killed 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Abbas, standing beside the pope at the Aida camp, called on Israel to embrace peace and abandon its 42-year occupation.

"In front of your holiness Your Holiness is the formal style by which the Coptic Pope and the Catholic Pope are addressed, and is properly the superlative style, taking precedence before all other styles; when rendered in the third person, "His Holiness" may be abbreviated to "HH", but this  I address a message of peace to our Israeli neighbours," he said. "And I call upon them to renounce occupation, settlements, arrests and humiliations."

At a farewell ceremony later in the day, Abbas said Palestinians would remember the pope's visit "with the hope of a future with no occupation, no wall and no checkpoints."

While in Bethlehem, the pope prayed at the underground cave in the Basilica of the Nativity, where a 14-pointed silver star marks the exact spot where Christians believe Jesus was born.

On Thursday, the pope was to travel to Nazareth, a predominantly Arab city in Israel, to celebrate mass and hold talks with right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He will fly back to Rome on Friday at the end of his eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land that also took him to Jordan.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:May 13, 2009
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