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Pope tells Israelis, Palestinians: tear down wall

May 14, 2009

Before leaving Bethlehem on Wednesday, May 13, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Aida refugee camp outside the city, and called for the destruction of the Israeli security wall that looms over the camp. The Holy Father expressed his solidarity with the estimated 1.3 million Palestinians living in refugee camps, "who long to be able to return to their birthplace, or to live permanently in a homeland of their own." He reiterated his support for "an independent Palestinian state."

Referrring to the massive concrete security barrier, the Pontiff said that "it is tragic to see walls still being erected." He said that the wall should be razed, and mutual respect should ensure security for Israelis and Palestinians alike. However, the Pope said: "On both sides of the wall, great courage is needed if fear and mistrust is to be overcome, if the urge to retaliate for loss or injury is to be resisted."


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