.- On Saturday, Pope Benedict expressed his personal condemnation of recent anti-Israeli statements, and called on the international community to show its solidarity against increased violence in the Holy Land.
The Holy Fatherâs declaration was made public over the weekend by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls.
In it, the Pope said that "The serious events in the Holy Land over the last few days are a cause of grave concern to the Holy See which, uniting itself with the entire international community, expresses its own firm condemnation of acts of violence - the terrorist attack on Hadera and the subsequent retaliation - from whichever side they come, and of certain particularly serious and unacceptable declarations denying the right of existence to the State of Israel.â
Last week, Iranâs president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed to speak for his entire nation when he commented that Israel should be âwiped off the map.â
"On this occasion,â, the Pope said, âthe Holy See reaffirms the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security, each in their own sovereign State.â
"At the same time,â the Pope continued, âthe Holy See feels the duty to renew its appeal to the leaders of all the peoples of the Middle East, to listen to the longing for peace and justice that rises from the populationâ¦â
He also called on them the leaders âto avoid actions and decisions leading to division and death, and to commit themselves with courage and determination to creating the minimum conditions necessary for dialogue to resume, which is the only way to guarantee a future of peace and prosperity to the children of that land."