The Palestinian Authority is hoping to use the upcoming visit by Pope Francis as a political pipebomb with which to further attack an already-dead peace process.
The itinerary of the Holy See is set to begin in Amman, where the Pope will meet with King Abdullah II. From there the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church will fly to the Holy Land on Sunday for a two-day visit that starts in Bethlehem — a logical choice given its proximity to Jordan and its importance in Christianity.
He will hold a mass there, meet there with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and later visit a “refugee camp,” allegedly to “underscore his support for the Palestinians,” according to PA Christian Affairs adviser Ziyad Bandak, who was quoted by Arutz Sheva.
Bandak said through that visit, the Pope will ‘see firsthand the “suffering of the Palestinian Arabs under the Israeli occupation…’
“This visit will help us in supporting our struggle to end the longest occupation in history,” he reportedly said. “I know that Israeli officials are not happy with this decision. We welcome this visit and consider it as support for the Palestinian people and confirmation from the Vatican of the need to end the occupation.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson told CBN News, however, the Pope is “coming here to spend time with everybody,” noting the convenience of the scheduled itinerary.
The Pope and his entourage are also expected to meet with Israeli leaders and to discuss the status of Jerusalem. The agenda is likely to include the extremely controversial issue of who will have authority over the area that houses King David’s tomb.
“He’s coming here to see us. He’s coming on a Christian pilgrimage… With all due respect to everybody’s inflated egos with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this is not the focus of his visit. It’s a wonderful thing that he’s coming to visit. Hundreds of foreign journalists and thousands of Christian pilgrims are looking forward to his visit. We don’t always have to exploit every single thing.”
The fact is, fully 60 percent of all incoming visitors to Israel at present are Christian.
And most of the Christian Arabs in Bethlehem have been viciously harassed by that city’s Muslims. Many have fled as a result. So if anything, the Pope is beginning his visit there as a gesture of solidarity to his people in that city, who desperately need his support.
Moreover, if we’re talking about the “longest occupation in history,” we may as well go back 2,000-plus years. Let’s discuss the expulsion of most of the Jews from this Land by the Romans and the subsequent occupations by our Gentile enemies, one after the other, including the rivers of Jewish blood that ran in our streets.
That history is all written down for anyone to see – and there remain at least several descendants of Jewish families in the Galilee village of Peki’in who can trace their lineage all the way back to those times. Not to mention the Yemenite Kohanim and Levi’im (members of the priestly sect), many of whom can also trace their lineage back to the time their ancestors were forced to leave, during the period when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem still stood.
But just as the Jews lost that ancient war, so too were we promised by the Creator that eventually we would return to our Land. Every monotheistic faith knows of that promise, and has read it in what the Christians refer to as the “Old Testament:”
Deuteronomy 30:1 –And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, to which the L-rd your G-d has driven you, :2 –And shall return unto the L-rd your G-d, and shall obey His voice according to all that I command you this day, you and you children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; :3 –That then the L-rd your G-d will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the nations, from where the L-rd your God has scattered you. :4 –If any of yours are driven out upon the outmost parts of heaven, from there will the L-rd your G-d gather you, and from then will He fetch you: :5 –And the L-rd your G-d will bring you into the Land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.