On Monday Pope John Paul II received a delegation of Christian Palestinians from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), calling on them to reject terrorism and to act in the true interest of the Palestinian people.
The Pontiff expressed his desire that the delegation’s trip to Italy facilitate “a better understanding of the situation of Christians in the Palestinian territories and of the significant role that they can play in promoting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
“Despite recent setbacks on the road to peace and fresh outbreaks of violence and injustice, we must continue to affirm that peace is possible and that the resolution of differences can only come about through the patient dialogue and persevering commitment of people of good will on both sides,” he said
“Terrorism,” the Pope added, “must be condemned in all its forms, for it is not only a betrayal of our common humanity, but is absolutely incapable of laying the necessary political, moral and spiritual foundations for a people’s freedom and authentic self-determination.”
The Pope made a renewed appeal to all parties “to respect fully the resolutions of the United Nations and the commitments made in the acceptance of the peace process, with engagement in a common quest for reconciliation, justice and the building of a secure and harmonious coexistence in the Holy Land.”
“I hope,” he concluded, “that the national Constitution presently being drafted will give expression to the highest aspirations and the most cherished values of all the Palestinian people, with due recognition of all religious communities and adequate legal protection of their freedom of worship and expression.”