The Vatican’s Secretary of State made a dramatic revelation ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to Israel next Sunday and Monday, declaring that the pope will talk about the “Palestinian people’s right to have a homeland, sovereign and independent.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin holds a role in the Vatican City State, located in the Italian capital of Rome, equivalent to that of a prime minister. Speaking to Vatican television on Thursday, he said “we know that the pope is going to a particularly suffering land,” reports AFP.
“I really hope that the fruit will be to help politicians and all people of good will take courageous decisions on the path to peace,” Parolin stated.
When asked what the pope particularly intends to talk about during the visit, Parolin revealed he would talk about “on the one hand, Israel’s right to exist in peace and security within internationally recognized boundaries.”
On the other side, the pope would talk about “the Palestinian people’s right to have a homeland, sovereign and independent, the right to move around freely, the right to live in dignity,” according to Parolin.
In fact, the Vatican recognized the “State of Palestine” in 2012 amid the United Nations (UN) vote to confer “Palestine” non-member observer state status, a status until then only held by the Vatican.
Despite the pope’s insistence that his visit is “religious not political,” his decision to begin his trip from Jordan directly by helicopter with a stop in Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled Bethlehem has been greeted by Arab sources as a move to “recognize Palestine” and help “end the occupation.”
Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a member of the Argentinian parliament and close friend of Pope Francis, reported in February that the pope intends to define himself as the “Che Guevera of the Palestinians” and support their “struggle and rights” during his visit.
It has been noted that the pope has been remarkably tight-lipped over the violent persecution of Christians in Bethlehem, instead choosing to condemn alleged Jewish “price tag” vandalism.
“Holy Father” asked to pressure Israel to let priests enter without IDF permission
On Thursday it was announced that 650 Christians from Gaza would be allowed to leave the Islamist-ruled enclave to travel to Judea and Samaria for the pope’s visit.
However, 20 priests from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which presides over Arab Catholic communities in Judea and Samaria, wrote the pope a letter on Thursday, complaining that they had not been allowed to enter Jerusalem without IDF permission.
“According to the State of Israel, the illegal occupier, we do not have the right to travel to Jerusalem without permission from the Israeli army,” the Arab priests said in the letter.