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Israeli-Palestinian tensions complicate planning for papal trip to Holy Land

Catholic World News - January 10, 2014

An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that “problems of a political nature” must be resolved before Pope Francis travels to the Holy Land in May.

Nemer Hammas, the Palestinian official, indicated that Israeli government representatives are unsatisfied with the plans for the papal trip, because the highlight of the visit will be a Mass in Bethlehem, on Palestinian territory. Israeli officials had hoped for a longer papal visit, and a Mass in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian spokesman said that Pope Francis had shown his own good intentions for the May trip, but “things are much more complicated” in negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials planning for the papal visit.

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