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Benedict XVI pleas for an end to intolerance and exclusion
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

.- As the Holy Father left the Palestinian Territories today, he thanked the faithful for their hospitality and encouraged "openness and generosity" and asked for an end to "intolerance and exclusion."

In his address, Pope Benedict thanked the President for his kindness and noted that it was "deeply moving" for him to learn about the conditions of those living on the West Bank and in Gaza.

He noted that while "walls can easily be built," they "can be taken down." However, he continued, first "it is necessary to remove the walls that we build around our hearts, the barriers that we set up against our neighbors. That is why, in my parting words, I want to make a renewed plea for openness and generosity of spirit, for an end to intolerance and exclusion."

"No matter how intractable and deeply entrenched a conflict may appear to be, there are always grounds to hope that it can be resolved, that the patient and persevering efforts of those who work for peace and reconciliation will bear fruit in the end," he said.

The Pontiff reassured the crowd that he will encourage those involved in peace negotiations "to work towards a just solution that respects the legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike."

He also announced that the Vatican will be establishing the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission along with the Palestinian Authority.

The Holy Father thanked the crowd and asked that "God look down in love upon each one of you, upon your families and all who are dear to you. And may he bless the Palestinian people with peace."

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