Look at this pic of Pope in Bethlehem & ask yourself who has history on its side; occupation or self-determination? pic.twitter.com/dOvcP8gL6J
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) May 25, 2014
The Guardian reports: It is an image that will define Pope Francis’s first visit to the Holy Land as pontiff. Head bowed in prayer, the leader of the Catholic church pressed his palm against the graffiti-covered concrete of Israel’s imposing “separation wall”, a Palestinian girl holding a flag by his side. It was, as his aides conceded later, a silent statement against a symbol of division and conflict.
The powerful gesture was made minutes after an appeal to both sides to end a conflict that the pope said was “increasingly unacceptable”.
The unscheduled, conspicuous stop halfway through his three-day visit to the Holy Land, made en route to an open-air mass in Manger Square, Bethlehem, confirmed Francis’s reputation for determined independence. So too did his invitation to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli president, Shimon Peres, to join him in Rome to meet and pray together for peace – an unprecedented papal intervention in the stalled peace process. [Continue reading…]