MESSAGE OF PEACE; Popes Urges Israel-Palestine Talks to End Bloody Conflict

The Mirror (London, England), May 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

MESSAGE OF PEACE; Popes Urges Israel-Palestine Talks to End Bloody Conflict


Byline: MATTI FRIEDMAN

POPE Benedict XVI took his message of peace to the most contentious site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict yesterday.

He urged both sides to engage in a "sincere dialogue aimed at building a world of peace and justice".

On the second day of his Holy Land tour, the pope visited the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, and the adjacent Western Wall, revered by Jews as a remnant of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.

Competing claims to the hilltop compound - known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount - have sparked violence in the past. Resolving the dispute has been the most intractable issue during more than 15 years of on-and-off Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Speaking at a meeting with top Islamic cleric in Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, the Pope said: "In a world sadly torn by divisions, this sacred place serves as a stimulus and also challenges men and women of goodwill to work to overcome misunderstandings and conflicts of the past and set out on sincere dialogue aimed at building a world of justice and peace for the future."

Hussein said afterward he gave the Pope a letter complaining about Israeli policies in Jerusalem and appealing for the Vatican's help in bringing about Palestinian independence. …

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