Pope in the Middle East: Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

"Let the two-state solution become a reality, not a dream," says Benedict XVI in closing comments that revisit his earlier refutation of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
Pope Benedict, who has spoken out in favor of an independent state for Palestinians met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who told him he feared it would be backed by Iran and pose a threat.

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Speaking to Palestinians at a refugee camp in Bethlehem, Benedict also voices compassion for those killed in Israel's winter assault in Gaza, but avoids taking sides on any issue.
On his trip to the Holy Land, the pontiff's message is lost amid the bitter divisions of his audience.
A Vatican spokesman's contradictory remarks about Benedict XVI's time as a German conscript come after some Israeli officials voice disappointment with the pope's speech at a Holocaust memorial.
Benedict enters the Dome of the Rock mosque and prays at the Western Wall. He urges dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
At the memorial in Israel, Benedict XVI declares that Jews' suffering must 'never be denied.' But Jewish leaders say the pontiff avoided questions of responsibility for the Holocaust.
"I plead with all those responsible to explore every possible avenue in the search for a just resolution of the outstanding difficulties," he said.
His message at an open air Mass in Amman comes as Christian populations in the region decline amid limited opportunities and hostility.

Pope Benedict XVI has sought better ties between Christians and Muslims. But in Fuhays, Jordan, devotion to the land comes first.

Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians and Muslims to serve mankind with the "light of God's truth" while warning that extremists were exploiting religious differences.

Beginning his Middle East tour, Pope Benedict is given a red-carpet welcome in Amman, where he is greeted by King Abdullah. He says he has a 'deep respect for the Muslim community.'

Pope Benedict XVI will start his trip in Amman, the Jordanian capital. His words will be carefully parsed in the region, where he is viewed with aloofness, anger and faint hope.

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