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Pope in Tel Aviv: May the 'two-state solution' be a reality, not a dream

2014-05-25

The Pope arrived by helicopter to Israel shortly after 5:30PM, after spending most of the day in Palestinian territory.

Upon his arrival at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres greeted the Pope in his native Spanish.

-Welcome!
-Here I am. I'm happy to be here and to be able to keep my word.

The Pope also greeted numerous government ministers, officials and religious figures, including members of religious orders in the Holy Land.

The prime minister and president thank the Pope in their speeches for his visit, as well as for his efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in the region.

Meanwhile, the Pope talked about the role the Holy Land plays as the cradle of three major religions, and therefore a "spiritual point of reference for humanity.” As a result, he called for mutual respect among the three faiths.

POPE FRANCIS
"So I express my hope and prayer that this blessed land may be one which has no place for those who, by exploiting and absolutizing the value of their own religious tradition, prove intolerant and violent towards those of others.”

The Pope also made another call to peace in the birthplace of Jesus, in order to end the suffering of two nations.

POPE FRANCIS
"May efforts and energies be increasingly directed to the pursuit of a just and lasting solution to the conflicts which have caused so much suffering. Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a torment.”
 
In his efforts to build peace, Pope Francis made the same invitation to the Israeli president, as he had done in Palestine, to meet at the Vatican and pray together for peace. 

POPE FRANCIS
"I would like to extend an invitation to you Mr. President, and to President Mahmoud Abbas, to join me in raising an intense prayer to the Lord, invoking peace. I offer my house at the Vatican to host this gathering of prayer.”

While calling for a solution to the on-going conflict, the Pope recalled that Benedict XVI, at that same place, called for the international recognition of the two States. He reiterated the words of his predecessor.

POPE FRANCIS
"The right of the State of Israel to exist and to flourish in peace and security within internationally recognized borders must be universally recognized. At the same time, there must also be a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to a sovereign homeland and their right to live with dignity and with freedom of movement. The 'Two-State Solution' must become reality and not remain merely a dream.”

The Pope also mentioned his upcoming visit to the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial. He asked God so that a tragedy like the Shoah never happens again. He explained that to prevent it, there's a need to promote education with "no room for anti-Semitism.”


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