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Pope: Stop Fighting In The Middle East

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Uploaded by Rome Reports on Jun 14, 2007

Fighting between the rival Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip killed at least 50 people in the past week. In addition, Israel and militants within Gaza have been exchanging fire. A situation that causes serious suffering, the Pope said after reciting the Regina Coeli prayer. “Once again, in the name of God, I urge an end to this tragic violence”. Benedict XVI launched an appeal to the international community to go back to the negotiating table. But good will is necessary for both Palestinians and Israelis: “I appeal to the sense of responsibility of all the Palestinian authorities that, in dialogue and firmness, they take up again the difficult path of understanding, neutralizing the violent. I invite the Israeli government to moderation.” In the meantime, for the first time in five years, the main negotiators for the Holy See and the State of Israel met in the Vatican last Monday. The task of Commission was to make progress on two issues: the religious property of the Catholic Church in Israel and the re-confirmation of the historic tax exemptions that the Church had in 1948, when the State of Israel was born. After the meeting, neither party released details. But in a joint declaration they expressed satisfaction for mutual understanding and hope for progress in the future. Aaron Abranovich, General Director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says: "I think for all of us it really was a good day, we had major progress on certain issues, and we believe that we are on the right track to continue to have understanding on all the issues that were left in the discussion between us and the Vatican." Msgr. Pietro Parolin, Vatican Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, says: "We discussed certain issues on which we hadn’t achieved an agreement, and during the meeting constructive proposals have been advanced: I think this is something important. Also, there was a renewed will to intensively continue the negotiations to achieve an agreement that can be satisfactory for both of us." The plenary’s next meeting will take place next December in Jerusalem. In the meantime the Commission will continue its work.

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