May 13, 2009.
Bethlehem is the only Palestinian city the Pope will visit on his trip to the Holy Land. He was greeted by Mahmoud Abbas, who spoke out against the wall dividing Palestinians and Israelis and the difficulties faced by Palestinians in Jerusalem.
President of the Palestinian National Authority
Here in the Holy Land, there are people that continue to build walls instead of building bridges. It’s time for the suffering to stop. It’s time for love and peace to prevail.
The Pope said the Holy See supports the right of the Palestinian people to have their own state, but he acknowledged a solution would not come easy if there is no cooperation with Israel.
Mr President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders.
Benedict said he hoped both Palestine and Israel would become more secure places so that Palestinians can have more freedom in moving around the region. While he acknowledged the suffering of the Palestinian people, he called on them not to resort to violence.
I make this appeal to the many young people throughout the Palestinian Territories today: do not allow the loss of life and the destruction that you have witnessed to arouse bitterness or resentment in your hearts. Have the courage to resist any temptation you may feel to resort to acts of violence or terrorism.
This afternoon, the Pope will visit a refugee camp built next to the wall that separates Israel from areas controlled by the Palestinian authority.