In Bethlehem, Pope Calls for Palestinian State
From Bethlehem, Benedict demands Palestinian state
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2009 8:31 AM CDT
A Palestinian security force officer stands guard as Pope Benedict XVI leads a mass in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, Wednesday, May 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – Pope Benedict decried the suffering in the West Bank and called for an independent Palestinian state today in Bethlehem, the London Times reports. "The Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers," the pope said, addressing thousands of Christians as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The pontiff called for "the international community to bring its influence to bear in favor of a solution.”

“I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades," Benedict said. "Have the courage to resist any temptation you may feel to resort to acts of violence or terrorism. Instead, let what you have experienced renew your determination to build peace."