Catholic bishops urge Israel to leave Arab lands
Catholic bishops from the Middle East demanded last Saturday at a special synod in Rome that Israel “put an end to the occupation” of Arab lands.
The AP reported that the bishops released the statement on the final day of its two-week Vatican conference that was convened by Pope Benedict XVI. (See http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2010/10/pope-urges-christians-jews-and-muslims-to-work-for-peace-14015).
The bishops said Israel should agree to U.N. resolutions for them to leave Palestinian territory, and added that it is wrong of Israel to employ the Bible as defense of “injustices” that were committed against the Palestinians, the AP said.
The special synod was called to thresh out the mass departure of Christians from the Middle East, which is the place where Christianity originated. The bishops also condemned all forms of terrorism and anti-Semitism, the AP reported.
The statement said, “The Palestinian people will thus have an independent and sovereign homeland where they can live with dignity and security,” the Jerusalem Post said. Furthermore,
“The State of Israel will be able to enjoy peace and security within their internationally recognized borders,” CNN reported.
The statement added that this would give Jerusalem its proper status as a holy place for Jews, Christians and Muslims saying, “We hope that the two-state solution might become a reality and not only a dream,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
The first time the pope publicly endorsed the two states coexisting was in May 2009 when he visited the region. The pope at that time expressed support for a sovereign Palestinian homeland, a suggestion that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed, CNN said.
Recently, peace talks had been revived between Palestinians and Israelis, but were scuttled because Israel embarked on the construction of 600 housing units in the West Bank. Palestine had said a freeze on Israeli settlements was a precondition for continuing with the talks, CNN reported.