Pope Francis Calls for Palestinian State, Prays at Apartheid Wall

On Sunday in Bethlehem, Pope Francis called for recognition of an independent Palestinian state. CNN reports that he asked for “the acknowledgment by all of the right of two states to exist and to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.”

As the AFP piece below makes clear, Pope Francis’s unscheduled stop at what Palestinians call the Apartheid Wall seemed to be an acknowledgment of the ways in which the structure has further cut Palestinians off from one another, strangled the economy of Bethlehem, and detached further land from the Palestinian West Bank. CNN reported that Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestine National Initiative, told its correspondent, “The Pope did not only put his hand on a concrete wall. He put his hand on occupation. He put his hand on (an) apartheid system, on a system of separation, and discrimination, and oppression.”

AFP has more:

Joyous pilgrims join pope for Bethlehem mass (via AFP)

Thousands of cheering Catholic pilgrims welcomed Pope Francis to Manger Square in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday, where the pontiff celebrated mass. Francis rolled into the square standing in a white open jeep, as local Christians, and others…

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Related video:

Reuters: “Pope Francis prays at Bethlehem wall”

2 Responses

  1. I find as significant that the Pope’s invitation to the Vatican was extended not to PM Netanyahu – but the Israeli President Shimon Peres, who earlier received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in negotiating the Oslo Accords.

    Also noteworthy is his placing his hand in the immediate vicinity of “Free Palestine” graffiti.

    The “Apartheid Wall” stands as a powerful symbol of the divisions between Jews and Christian Arabs in that area that is historic to both religions.

  2. The right for a Palestinian State to exist within the territory of the former Mandate of the League of Nations was established by the UN in 1947. To the best of my knowledge that right has not been revoked. Hence there is no need for asking recognition of that right again.

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