All eyes on Pope's Israel visit

2014-05-19 09:25
Pope Francis. (File, AFP)

Pope Francis. (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Jerusalem - When Pope Francis arrives in the Holy Land he will step into a political powder keg, with Israelis and Palestinians seeking to chalk up political points from his visit.

For Israel, increasingly isolated in the world over its relentless settlement juggernaut, it will be a chance to bask in the reflected glow of the pope's aura of tolerance.

"The very fact of the visit is a success", an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"Hopefully, it will encourage pilgrims to visit here."

In fact, the pope's "pilgrimage of prayer", which begins in Jordan on Saturday, will leave a relatively faint footprint in Israel.

His visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories will kick off on Sunday in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.

"He is taking a helicopter directly from Jordan to Palestine, to Bethlehem. It's a kind of sign of recognising Palestine", Father Jamal Khader of the Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem told journalists.

'Highly charged'

In Bethlehem, the pope will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and then celebrate mass in front of the Church of the Nativity, traditional birthplace of Jesus, before visiting a nearby refugee camp.

"Knowing who he is, and his sensitivity for all those who suffer, I am sure that he will say something defending all those who are suffering, including the Palestinians who live under occupation", Khader said.

After a short flight to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport where he will be greeted by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he will hold a top-level meeting with Orthodox Church leaders, before spending the night in the residence of the papal nuncio in annexed east Jerusalem.

Israel seized east Jerusalem in 1967 and calls the entire city its "united, undivided capital", in a move never recognised by the international community.

It is there that he will spend much of 26 May, apart from brief forays into Israel to pay his respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and visit Peres and Israel's two chief rabbis.

He will meet Netanyahu at the Vatican-owned Notre Dame complex, which lies on the seam line between east and west Jerusalem, for talks which will touch on politics, an Israeli official said.

"We shall be able to explain to him, from our point of view, what's happening politically in the region", he said.

"We shall explain to him the Iranian threat."

During the visit, the pope is expected to call for a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians.

Any reference he makes to Israeli settlements, to the West Bank separation barrier, or to the question of Palestinian prisoners or refugees will be closely watched by both sides.

"Everything will be highly charged politically", said Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs.

Following the collapse of US-led peace talks last month, the Palestinians have resumed moves to seek recognition for their promised state in the international diplomatic arena and will be looking to the papal visit to provide fresh ammunition.

"This visit will help us in supporting our struggle to end the longest occupation in history", said Ziyyad Bandak, Abbas's advisor for Christian affairs.

"He will have a lunch with Palestinians, with families suffering from the occupation, then he will visit Dheishe refugee camp to witness the suffering of Palestinian refugees", he told Voice of Palestine radio.

Read more on:    mahmud abbas  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  pope francis  |  palestine  |  israel  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Langa - 07:06 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Northbound
    DELAYS towards Jakkalsvlei Avenue
  • Thursday Cape Town - 07:01 AM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    DELAYS between Duienfontein Road and the M5 Highway Interchange
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your heart is big and you are sensitive to the needs of those around you. Your humanitarian side is emphasized today and you may...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.