Pope in Israel calls for Palestinian homeland
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – Pope Benedict XVI called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian homeland immediately after he arrived in Israel Monday, a stance that could put him at odds with his hosts on a trip aimed at easing strains between the Vatican and Jews.
The pope also took on the delicate issue of the Holocaust, pledging to “honor the memory” of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide at the start of his five-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Benedict urged Israelis and Palestinians to “explore every possible avenue” to resolve their differences in remarks at the airport after he landed.
“The hopes of countless men, women and children for a more secure and stable future depend on the outcome of negotiations for peace,” he said. “In union with people of goodwill everywhere, I plead with all those responsible to explore every possible avenue in the search for a just resolution of the outstanding difficulties, so that both peoples may live in peace in a homeland of their own within secure and internationally recognized borders.”