Let the two-state solution be a reality: PopeMay 15th, 2009 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS
Tel Aviv, May 15 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI ended his journey to Israel and the Palestinian territories by issuing a powerful call for peace.
“Allow me to make this appeal to all the people of these lands: No more bloodshed! No more fighting! No more terrorism! No more war!” he told a farewell ceremony at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport Friday.
“Let it be universally recognised that the State of Israel has the right to exist, and to enjoy peace and security within internationally agreed borders.
“Let it be likewise acknowledged that the Palestinian people have a right to a sovereign independent homeland, to live with dignity and to travel freely,” he said in the most strongly-worded statement of his five-day stay.
“Let the two-state solution become a reality, not remain a dream.”
The pontiff made a clear bid to compensate for what critics had dismissed as bland and lukewarm remarks at Yad Vashem, describing his visit to the Israeli Holocaust memorial as “deeply moving” and as “one of the most solemn moments of my stay in Israel
His encounter with Holocaust survivors had “brought back memories of my visit three years ago to the death camp at Auschwitz, where so many Jews - mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends - were brutally exterminated under a godless regime that propagated an ideology of anti-Semitism and hatred.”
But he also called Israel’s West Bank wall “one of the saddest sights for me during my visit to these lands.”
“As I passed alongside it, I prayed for a future in which the peoples of the Holy Land can live together in peace and harmony without the need for such instruments of security and separation,” he said.
“I wish to put on record that I came to visit this country as a friend of the Israelis, just as I am a friend of the Palestinian people,” said the spiritual leader of the world’s more than one billion Catholics said, noting he left with “powerful impressions”.
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