By Lauren McCauley
26 May, 2014
The pope praying next to the words: “Pope, we need someone to speak about justice.” (Photo: AP)
During his historic trip to Bethlehem on Sunday, Pope Francis made waves after taking a surprise detour to pray at the wall separating Palestine from the state of Israel.
The stop at the barrier, also known as the “apartheid wall,” was made on the second day of the pontiff’s Middle East visit after touring Jordan on Saturday.
Describing the detour, the Guardian reports:
His route had been planned to pass close by the separation wall. Palestinian officials had hoped he might stop briefly to contemplate the Israeli-built structure, which weaves through the occupied West Bank, but instead the pope stopped his cavalcade, stepped out of the white, glass covered pick-up truck and made his way up to the wall, where he was quickly surrounded by children from the nearby Aida refugee camp.
Approaching the wall, which is close to the main Israeli checkpoint by Rachel’s Tomb, the pope put his palm to the towering concrete structure, covered with graffiti appeals to the Palestinian cause, and bowed his head in prayer, flanked by two girls with Palestinian flags. The heads of Israeli soldiers were visible at the window of a nearby watchtower.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that the Pope’s act of touching the wall was particularly notable.
“It was not a kiss or a blessing, it was a sign of contact and I think it was very significant way to demonstrate his participation in suffering,” Lombardi said, adding, “it was done in a silent praying way, but without words. It was a profound spiritual moment in front of a symbol of division.”
Ahead of the trip, many noted that the pope’s decision to arrive first in the West Bank before Tel Aviv was in itself a “symbolic nod towards Palestinian statehood,” as AP reported.
Others reacted online regarding the larger context of the prayer at the separation wall, saying it was “not an image Israel wanted.”
Following his prayer, while speaking at Manger Square in Bethlehem alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Pope Francis invited Abbas and the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, to come to the Vatican join him in “heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace.”
“For decades the Middle East has known the tragic consequences of a protracted conflict which has inflicted many wounds so difficult to heal,” the pope said.
“Even in the absence of violence, the climate of instability and a lack of mutual understanding have produced insecurity, the violation of rights, isolation and the flight of entire communities, conflicts, shortages and sufferings of every sort,” he added.
“In expressing my closeness to those who suffer most from this conflict, I wish to state my heartfelt conviction that the time has come to put an end to this situation which has become increasingly unacceptable. For the good of all, there is a need to intensify efforts and initiatives aimed at creating the conditions for a stable peace based on justice, on the recognition of the rights of every individual, and on mutual security.”
The pope continued: “The time has come for everyone to find the courage to be generous and creative in the service of the common good, the courage to forge a peace which rests on the acknowledgment by all of the right of two states to exist and to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.”
Both leaders have reportedly accepted the invitation.
The Pope At The Apartheid Wall
By Mazin Qumsiyeh
26 May, 2014
Bethlehem: The children of Al-Rowwad from Aida Refugee Camp delivered a message to the Pope when he stopped to pray at the apartheid and annexation wall. They emphasized prisoners plight and the right to return home. This impromptu stop was in my opinion the most memorable part of the Pontiff’s visit to Bethlehem. The Pope recognized “The State of Palestine” (Google just did it
too!) and also met with refugee children at Dheisheh and shared food with some family members who each had a story to tell him about horrific suffering under Israel’s colonial occupation. Christians and Muslims here were all genuinely touched by the visit of this more humble Pope and his gestures of understanding and solidarity. But most said they wished he would use his influence more to pressure the Zionist regime. The Western Zionist dominated media tried to hide things including the Pope’s gestures of solidarity with us but social media was prominent and the story could not be ignored. See pictures here
The Pope later went on to Tel Aviv to be was sandwiched between two Zionist Polish liars who continue to build walls of hate and destruction: Persky (aka Peres) and Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu). The Pope had to listen as both atheists said that God gave this land to the Jews and that Israel was “the land of the Jewish people” and is a “democracy that guarantees freedom of religion”! Unfortunately, the Pope is also forced to lay a wreath at the tomb of Theodore Herzl (in addition to the obligatory stops at “Yad Vashem” and Herod’s retaining wall). Herzl is another atheist who is “credited” with organizing a world-wide Zionist movement that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths (not counting those crimes committed by its subservient armies like the US army killing Iraqis etc). It is a movement that has created millions of refugees and continues to commit crimes against humanity as it consolidates an apartheid system here while money laundering billions of illicit financial gains money. Israel continues to demolish homes and lands. Just to welcome the Pope: Israel murdered Palestinian youth, imprisoned many, destroyed over 1500 trees in the Land of the Nassar family (called Tent of Nations) and more. Israeli Jewish “activists” even distributed flyers calling for destruction of Churches (claiming Christians worship idols according to Jewish law), and some sprayed graffiti on Churches that “Mary is a Cow” and “Jesus: a son of a Whore”!
Who are these Zionist leaders that brilliantly brainwashed Jews to support racist Zionism and pressured some Gentiles to do the same?
Shimon Peres was born as Shimon Perski in Vishniva, Poland (now Belarus). He and his parents came to Palestine in 1934 (under British rule). He joined the underground terrorist group the Haganah, and served as a chief of its manpower division in the 1940s and participated in the ethnic cleansing of 1948-1949. He is the architect of Israel’s nuclear program. Appointed in 1953 as director general of the ministry of defense, he immediately started exploring the nuclear development. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Israel developed its nuclear program primarily with the help of France while maintaining the Peres doctrine of “ambiguity.” The US
and Britain and other countries looked the other way. He is known as a slick politician able to lie with ease claiming wanting peace but rejecting any responsibility for his ethnic cleansing of Palestine and rejecting the rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands. He was awarded (with Rabin and Arafat) the Nobel Peace Prize for their disastrous Oslo accords. Many Nobel committee members later signed a letter regretting their awarding Perski the Nobel Peace Prize (based on his actions as member of the Sharon government during its war crimes spree).
Benyamin Mileikowsky (aka Netanyahu) was born to Benzion Mileikowsky (later changed names to Netanyahu), a polish immigrant. His Americanized father became secretary to terrorist leader Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsky (aka Zeev Jabotinsky) founder of “revisionist” Zionism and supported groups like Irgun terrorist organization during the mandate in Palestine. His son continues to idolize these early Jewish terrorists. Both Benjamin and his brother served in units of the Israeli forces responsible for assassinations on foreign lands (in violations of international law) and committed war crimes. Benjamin Miliekowsky (Netanyahu) is known both among Israelis and globally as a consummate liar who refused to accept the Oslo accords (even though they were partial to Israel) and has gotten rich off of his political activities. Here is a video of him thinking the camera was off explaining his true contributions during his first stint as Israeli prime minister in the 1990s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrtuBas3Ipw . see also this
This is after all the same terrorist who gave a speech to dozens of Likud Party members in Eilat in which he admitted this is his strategy. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (15 July 2001): “…giving his audience a bit of advice on how to deal with foreign interviewers (Netanyahu said):’Always, irrespective of whether you’re right or not, you must always present your side as right.’ In 2011, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, described Netanyahu as a liar in a private exchange with US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit (it was inadvertently broadcast to journalists). “I cannot stand him. He’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama. The US
president Obama responded by saying: “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day.”
Other Zionist leaders have even more interesting backgrounds. See http://qumsiyeh.org/israelileaders/
But in very good news, and inspite of sending in legions of professional propaganda men to DePaul University, the students there voted to support Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions.
The BDS campaign must grow. Other forms of resistance must grow. Injustice must end. Join the struggle.
Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He serves as chairman of the board of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour He is author of “Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” and “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment” http://qumsiyeh.org