Pope Francis to call for Sovereign, Independent Palestinian State from Bethlehem

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin is signaling that Pope Francis in his visit to Bethlehem on Sunday will strongly support the right of Palestinians to a sovereign state.

Implicitly, Pope Francis will condemn the Apartheid system of military rule used by Israel in the West Bank, though he likely won’t use the word.

Cardinal Parolin said that the Vatican recognizes Israelis’ rights to live in security inside recognized borders and added that it also recognizes “the Palestinian people’s right to have a homeland, sovereign and independent, the right to move around freely, the right to live in dignity…”

In other words, Parolin is saying that the Vatican condemns the statelessness of the Palestinians, their lack of sovereignty or independence, their inability to circulate freely because of the Israeli pass system, and their inability to live in dignity, given the decades-long Israeli occupation. You put all that together, and you are describing an Apartheid system.

Meanwhile Issa Kassissiyeh, the Palestine envoy to the Vatican, explains that President Mahmoud Abbas when he meets with Francis at Bethlehem on Sunday will express Palestinians’ anxieties about Israeli actions in Jerusalem that harm Christian Palestinians there, as well as about the conditions for Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Pope Francis will have lunch with ordinary Palestinians suffering from these practices, Kassissiyeh said.

He will also meet with the Muslim Mufti of Jerusalem and visit the Mosque of Omar.

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Related video:

AFP: “Palestinians prepare for papal visit to the Holy Land”

6 Responses

  1. Well there you go. Even the Pope is anti-Israel. If he really does this you can bet that there will be a strong Israeli backlash.

  2. Israel has always been concerned about the fondness that the Vatican has exuded to the Palestinians. This was expressed by Victor Ostrovsky, the ex-Mossad agent author of the best-seller By Way of Deception.

    PM Menachem Begin criticized Pope John Paul II over his September 15, 1982 audience with Yasser Arafat. It was the first of a dozen meetings the two would have. Arafat in 1990 married Suha Tawil, who was raised Roman Catholic.

    In 2000, the pontiff visited Arafat in Bethlehem and wished “blessings from heaven” upon him, his family and the Palestinians.

    The Roman Catholic Church’s Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has regularly given pronouncements critical of the oppression visited upon the Palestinian population.

    80,000 Roman Catholic adherents inhabit Israel/Palestine.

    • Pope John Paul II had an audience with Arafat on Sep 15, 1982? Interesting. The following night the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila began. The Israelis allowed the killings, but it was carried out by Lebanese Maronite militiamen. The Maronite Church is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. What was the reaction of the Vatican to these mass killings of Palestinians conducted by Catholics?

      • Good question.

        I authored a paper decades ago in college on that massacre and could locate no response by the Vatican. If anyone has found something in this regard I would be glad to have them share it here.

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