Pope Francis has called for the end to what
he calls the “unacceptable” Israeli-Palestinian conflict, during his three-day trip to the
Middle East. Paul,… Pope Francis isn’t one to shy away
from controversy in his attempt to bridge the divide between people around the world.
What other unprecedented moves has he been making? During his visit to Palestine… Francis made
an unannounced, symbolic stop at a wall separating Israel and Palestine… inviting leaders from
both sides of the divide to pray at the Vatican. It shows that Pope Francis is doing the annual
papal trip his way. Here’s Connie Kim with the story.
Pope Francis’s first official visit to the Holy Land has been a succession of unprecedented
moves calling for peace in Israel and Palestine. Breaking with the custom of only meeting with
high ranking officials in visiting countries, the pontiff instead chose to meet with refugees
from Syria and Iraq in Bethany, where Jesus was baptized.
There,… he called on the international community to support the refugees. “I ask that the international society does
not turn away from refugees and continue to send support for this issue.” In another first, the pope flew straight from
Jordan to Bethlehem by helicopter,… bypassing Israel,… to show Palestine is an independent
state. The pope also made a surprise stop in front
of the concrete wall that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem.
For Palestinians, the structure is a symbol of Israeli oppression.
Laying his head against the wall, Pope Francis quietly said his prayers. “My interpretation of his praying is,… let
God bless the Palestinians and the Israelis in order to destroy this wall, to destroy
this wall and to build on this place a reality of peace.” In another powerful visual statement,… Pope
Francis has decided to travel in a white, open-sided popemobile instead of a bullet-proof
automobile. The trip comes after Middle East peace talks
broke down last week. The Argentinian pontiff said the break-down
was unacceptable… and – in an apparently spontaneous move – he invited the presidents
of both sides to the Vatican next month to pray for peace.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.