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Year in Review-May: Visit to the Holy Land

December 30, 2009. In May, the pope visited Jordan, Israel and Palestine where he prayed
for peace and unity among the Middle Eastern nations and among
Christians, Jews and Muslims.

The first stop was Jordan, where he met with King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania.

Benedict XVI
“My visit to Jordan gives me a welcome opportunity to speak of my deep respect for the Muslim community.”

He
visited the largest mosque in Amman, where he was greeted by Prince
Ghazi, one of the voices at the forefront of dialogue between
Christians and Muslims. The prince thanked the pope for apologizing for
his statements on the prophet Muhammad in Germany.

PrinceGhazi ben Mohamad

“It
hardly needs to be said, moreover, that the Prophet Mohammad whom
Muslims love, emulate and know as a living reality and spiritual
presence, is completely and entirely different from the historical
depictions of him in the West.”

The pope then travelled to
Israel. He visited the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, which
pays tribute to the six million Jews who lost their lives in the
Holocaust. Benedict said the tragedy must never be forgotten.

Benedict XVI

“May
the names of these victims never perish! May their suffering never be
denied, belittled or forgotten! And may all people of goodwill remain
vigilant in rooting out from the heart of man anything that could lead
to tragedies such as this!”

He visited the Western Wall, a holy site of the Jewish faith, and placed a written prayer between the stones.

Then
he travelled to the Palestinian territories, where he was greeted by
Mahmoud Abbas, who spoke out against the Israeli wall and about the
difficulties faced by Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Mahmoud Abbas
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.”

Benedict XVI also visited a refugee camp in Bethlehem along the wall that separates Israel from Palestinian territory.

The pilgrimage concluded at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, which guards the places of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The
pope made a strong appeal for peace among Jews and Palestinians. He
asked the entire world to recognize Israel’s right to exist and
repeated that the Palestinians have a right to an independent and
sovereign state. He implored that a solution to both problems not
remain merely a dream.    

JMB/DG/RS

Source

 

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